Wed, Jul 07, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Airport workers condemned for ‘fun’ at workplace

By Flora Wang and Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) pledged yesterday to impose the harshest possible punishment on airport personnel if they are found to have abandoned their duty, after a lawmaker charged that some terminal control center workers had been seen “having fun” while on the job.

The pledge came after Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) told a news conference yesterday morning that some control center personnel at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport had been caught drinking alcohol and having a feast while on the job.

Lo alleged the controllers flirted with female staffers, pointing to one of the pictures she provided that showed an official holding the hands of a female colleague and hugging her in another picture.

“The control tower is responsible for providing flight information and monitoring the safe operation of the facilities. How could it be turned into a social activity hall?” Lo asked, as she criticized the airport staff for what she called “unbridled behavior” and “lax management.”

In response, Huang Chi-ming (黃啟明), a section chief of the center, said the feast might have been held when the staff were off duty. He said the occasion might have been a going-away party for one of the officials last month.

“However, holding the party at the location was wrong,” Huang said, promising to probe the allegations and review the conduct of the controllers.

CAA Deputy ­Director-­General Wang Te-ho (王德和) said the control center is responsible for maintaining the order, safety and operations of the airport terminals and maintaining the broadcast system, air conditioning system and the flight information systems.

Those working at the terminal control center are not in charge of the aviation control or safety, he said.

At a separate setting later yesterday, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which oversees CAA operations, said the behavior of the control center personnel was “unacceptable.”

“Most of the workers at the ­control center are contractors, who are difficult to manage,” Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said. “Also, some of the civil servants do not strictly follow the code of conduct, especially in regards to the relationship with the private contractors.”

Noting the ministry’s plan to establish a state-run airport company by the end of the year, some speculated that the incident was exposed by contractors who failed to get the government contract.

Yeh dismissed the speculation.

“Whether there is a conspiracy is not my concern,” Yeh said. “Things like this should not have happened in the first place. This is common sense.”

Additional reporting by CNA

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