Your article ("High-speed railway may be the last straw for airports," Aug. 21, page 3) highlights the world's obsession with often unnecessary air travel. The environmental impacts of air travel and airports are rarely subject to the scrutiny they deserve.
Once the high-speed railway is operating it should eliminate the need for domestic flights between cities on Taiwan's west coast. Any time savings of air travel over the high-speed rail will be negligible. Only flights to the east coast and outlying islands could really be justified.
A number of smaller airports could be closed down. More significantly, Songshan Airport in Taipei could be closed. The center of the city is an inappropriate place for an airport and the land could be put to much better use.
The site of the Songshan Airport could be redeveloped as a park or a world-class sporting venue. This would contribute so much more to the environment and quality of life in Taipei than the current airport.