Tue, Feb 08, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Further delays expected at CKS

BACKLOGAirport officials said that they hope to restore some order to flight schedules today after about 200 passengers refused to leave their plane yesterday, demanding compensation

By Wang Hsiao-wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Passengers wait at Taipei's Sungshan Airport yesterday after their flights were delayed by heavy fog.


With the western part of the country still buried under a thick layer of fog which paralyzed air transportation on Sunday, officials at CKS International Airport said yesterday that, although further delays are expected, they hope to get schedules back to normal today.

"At 11:30am, 38 flights were delayed and two cancelled. We hope that the airport will be able to digest the backlog by today," the airport's deputy director Liu Chuang-sheng (劉創生) said.

The bank of fog disrupted domestic and international air travel on Sunday, affecting 150 flights and more than 20,000 passengers. Some passengers were forced to stay at the airport overnight after checking in.

Officials said the airport is now operating more smoothly. Passengers have started boarding and most flights are arriving on time.

A few international flights were still delayed or cancelled yesterday. Some flights to Tokyo, Phuket, Hong Kong and Macau were cancelled, while flights to Southeast-Asian cities like Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and others like Delhi, Nagoya and Los Angeles have been rescheduled.

As heavy fog is likely to affect air transportation for the next few days, Liu advised passengers to contact airlines to confirm flight times, or check the Web site www1.cksairport.gov.tw/english.

"At this festive time of the year, travelers wish to get to their destination as quickly as possible. We understand this and urge passengers to check with airlines first. We will rearrange flights to take passengers home before Lunar New Year's Eve on Tuesday," Liu said.

Some passengers in Macau were furious when Eva Air's flight BR-806 was delayed for 12 hours because some passengers apparently refused to board. When they arrived in Taipei yesterday morning, more than 200 passengers refused to leave the plane and demanded to be compensated for the inconvenience.

After mediation by members of the aviation police, Eva Air agreed to give NT$2,500 back to each of the passengers. Most passengers were satisfied and left, although a few stayed behind in the departure lounge demanding an apology.

The airline said that the delay was caused by weather factors beyond its control.

"The airline is the biggest victim of the bad weather. We humbly ask our customers to understand and cooperate with us so that further delays can be averted," Eva Air said in its news release.

The Consumer's Foundation called on passengers and airlines to establish a negotiation mechanism about disputes.

"The delays were caused by the weather, but airlines' attitude plays a key role in resolving disputes with their costumers. We must have a constant negotiation mechanism so that both sides can argue their cases reasonably. Otherwise, both sides would only hastily wrap things up with whimpers," said Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏), vice chairman of the Consumers' Foundation.

Meanwhile, the Central Weather Bureau extended its fog warning and forecast that fog and mist are likely to continue to blanket western areas throughout the Lunar New Year holiday.

Heavy fog, coming from the southeastern coast of China, will loom over western cities, resulting in reduced visibility.

"Motorists should heed weather reports and exercise more caution when they take to the highways," the forecast center's deputy director Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said.

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