Fri, Sep 14, 2001 - Page 17 News List

400 stranded near CKS

HANGING OUT Travelers are waiting for planes to begin flying to the US following the grounding of all commercial aircraft in America since late Tuesday

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following the closure of US airports after terrorist attacks on Tuesday, approximately 400 passengers have remained stranded at hotels near CKS International Airport yesterday.

Most are transit passengers from China Airlines Co (華航), EVA Airways Corp (長榮) and Malaysia Airlines (馬航), originally scheduled to fly to Los Angeles and Seattle on Sept. 11.

According to Wang Te-ho (王德何), a spokesperson at CKS international, 31 departure flights and 29 arrival flights were canceled yesterday.

"Since Tuesday night, passengers have been transferred by their respective airlines to us," said Chiang Chang-shiou (江長壽), deputy manager of Taoyuan Holiday Hotel, where around 200 passengers are staying.

The CKS Airport Hotel quickly filled up earlier Tuesday night.

Earlier yesterday, transit passengers from Southeast Asia were being flown back to the airports from where they had originally departed, reducing the number of stranded passengers in half on Wednesday, Chiang said.

Another 160 passengers are still stranded at the CKS airport hotel (過境旅館).

Accommodation coverage varied among the airlines.

Paul Wang (王振畬), a spokesperson at China Airlines, said that no matter how many days transit passengers stay, the company will cover the hotel charges.

As for EVA Airways and Malaysia Airlines passengers, those delayed by the suspension of US air traffic have to foot the bill for everything beyond the first night.

John Miraglia, a US citizen stranded in Taipei since the calamity in the US, was at CKS international on the night of the terrorist attacks.

"I was at the airport when they told me of the World Trade Center crash and that all US flights were cancelled -- I thought it was some kind of a joke."

While frustrated at not being able to get back to Washington, he considered himself lucky.

"Its a huge inconvenience, but relative to what happened to people in New York and others stranded in planes and airports around the world, I am very lucky," he said.

Miraglia said that China Airlines didn't offer to put his non-transit group up in a hotel.

China Airlines and EVA will begin flying to the US today while US-based United Airlines and Northwest Airlines will not resume flights to the US just yet.

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