Mon, Mar 11, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Discovery of pothole at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport delays 121 flights

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A pothole on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s south runway delayed 121 flights on Saturday night, the Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC, 桃園國際機場公司) said yesterday.

Budget airline Scoot Tigerair Pte had one of its flights from Hokkaido to Singapore via Taiwan delayed for more than nine hours, the longest among all delayed flights, the airport company said.

The flight was scheduled to land at the airport in Taoyuan at 9:20pm on Saturday and depart for Singapore at 10:20pm, it said.

Due to the pothole, the flight was redirected to Kaohsiung International Airport instead, it said, adding that it landed in Taoyuan at 1:43am yesterday and left for Singapore at 8am.

The pothole, which was found on the south runway during a routine inspection at about 6pm on Saturday, was about 45cm long, 30cm wide and 3cm deep, TIAC said.

Due to heavy rainfall, the repair work did not finish until 10:15pm, the company said, adding that the runway reopened at midnight after the pavement had cooled down.

The repair work delayed the arrival of 85 flights, with eight of them being diverted to Kaohsiung, it said.

The average delay time was 55 minutes, which did not include the waiting time in Kaohsiung, TIAC said.

Airlines that diverted flights to Kaohsiung included China Airlines Ltd (中華航空, four flights), EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空, two flights), Scoot Tigerair (one flight) and Tigerair Taiwan Ltd (台灣虎航, one flight).

Another 36 departing flights were delayed, with an average delay time of 49 minutes.

Taoyuan International Airport’s south and north runways were closed for one-year renovations in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and construction of the south runway was completed in January 2015.

Problems with the south runway first surfaced in October 2015, when an EVA Air aircraft’s vertical stabilizer was hit by a piece of asphalt as it was taxiing down the runway for take off.

The airport company also closed the runway for 16 hours in 2017 to repair a crack.

Wang Ming-teh (王明德), who became the airport company’s chairman at the end of last year, said that he would identify problems facing the nation’s most important gateway.

On Friday last week, three months after Wang took office, the airport also experienced a power outage for 30 minutes, disrupting the operations of two airport terminals.

The pothole was not an isolated event, particularly as the runway underwent a major renovation a few years ago, he said.

Wang said that the company would have to find the source of the problem.

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