A China Airlines (CAL) aircraft that burst into flames on the runway in Okinawa was voted by transportation experts and reporters to be the nation's top transportation story this year.
It was followed by the inauguration of the high speed rail and its subsequent impact on other transportation systems, ranked as the second and the third most significant transport developments, respectively.
The vote was conducted by the Taipei Traffic Culture and Education Foundation in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Reporters Association.
Foundation chairman C.J. Chang (
"We could do this [the survey] among the general public next time," he said.
Chang Sheng-hsiung (張勝雄), the chair of the transportation management department at Tamkang University, told the press conference that China Airlines had, on average, one accident every four years in the past 16 years, including the 1994 plane crash in Nagoyashi, Japan, the 1998 plane crash at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and a crash near Penghu in 2002.
Hundreds of passengers died in these accidents, he said.
Chang said that although the cause of the Okinawa accident had yet to be determined, many experts were scrutinizing the quality of the company's aircraft maintenance.
He said airlines were often unwilling to invest sufficient funds in maintenance.
"The accident reflects, to a certain degree, the general attitude of the transportation industry toward maintenance," he said.
Jason Chang (
This reflects the fact that the bullet train had garnered a lot of attention, he said, adding that it was one of the world's most expensive build-operate-transfer projects and cost approximately US$16 billion.
"The fact that, for the first time, the government used the Independent Verification and Validation mechanism to certify the safety of railway operations makes the high speed rail a noteworthy news event," he said.
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