Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

High-speed railway may be the last straw for airports


Aviation officials expressed concern yesterday that the opening of the 345km high-speed railway linking Taipei and Kaohsiung in October may drive another nail into the coffin of most of the country's 16 domestic airports.

The officials noted that the 16 domestic airports in Taiwan and the outlying islands have seen their passenger volumes plummet since the government began implementing an open-sky policy a decade ago.

Citing Taipei's Sungshan Airport as an example, the officials said the airport handled some 500 flights per day 10 years ago, but that the number has dropped to less than half that figure.

The opening of 12 east-west highways in the past four years and the inauguration of the country's second north-south expressway in early 2004 have brought increased convenience to road travelers but have also caused domestic airlines to lose many customers, the officials noted.

They expressed fear that the opening of the high-speed railway linking the country's two largest cities in the north and south may add to the airports' difficulties.

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