Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers focus on airport’s punctuality

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Punctuality of flight departures from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport became the focus of debate yesterday morning at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee.

At issue was the airport’s ranking last month of 42 out of 83 major airports worldwide for on-time departures by UK-based OAG, a private company specializing in air travel information and applications.

The airport was placed well behind regional rivals in Japan and South Korea.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) brought up the issue with Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TAIC) chairman Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁), who was scheduled to brief the committee about the company’s budget plan for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Lee and Yeh said that the airport still has a lot of room for improvement, although it was recognized last year for having the world’s best staff service by the UK-based consultancy Skytrax.

Citing OAG’s punctuality ranking for last month, Lee said the airport had a flight punctuality rate of 81.73 percent and average delay time of 41.4 minutes.

OAG defines a delayed flight as one that takes off 15 minutes later than its scheduled departure time.

Kansai International Airport in Japan was ranked No. 9, with a flight punctuality rate of 87.45 percent, while Gimpo International Airport in South Korea was ranked No. 10, with a flight punctuality rate of 87.41 percent, he said.

TAIC should work with the National Immigration Agency and the Customs Administration to resolve punctuality problems, Lee said, adding that the company should strive to have the airport placed in the top 30.

Tseng said that the company follows the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s (CAA) definition of flight departure performance, which considers a flight delayed if it departs 30 minutes after the cabin door is closed.

One problem is that 55 percent of the airport’s arrivals, particularly flights from China, arrive later than scheduled, which affects the operations of other aircraft and lowers the airport’s flight punctuality rate, Tseng said.

Yeh disagreed with Tseng’s assessment, saying that there appears to be a substantial gap between the CAA’s performance standards and those of international monitoring firms.

The US-based Web site Flights Stats said the Taoyuan airport’s on-time flight departure rate last year was 59 percent, while the CAA gave it a punctuality rate of 89 percent, Yeh said.

The CAA should follow OAG’s definition when it assesses the Taoyuan airport’s flight departure performance, she said.

Yeh also questioned Tseng’s claim that flights from China are to blame for the airport’s punctuality problems, asking Tseng why Japanese airports did not appear to face the same problems with departures even though they also have a large number of flights arriving from China.

Ninety percent of flights at the Taoyuan airport are medium or short-haul flights, while 40 percent flights at Japan’s Narita International Airport are long-hauls.

CAA Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯) said that agency officials would meet with airline representatives to discuss the issues raised by lawmakers.

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