Sun, Feb 19, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Taoyuan airport to reshuffle flights as runways worked on

Staff Writer, with CNA

Flight schedules at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will be reshuffled to make way for restoration work on the airport’s two aging runways, Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIA) said.

Each of the runways will be closed for a 10-month period after the overhaul project begins in October, so a flight rearrangement at the country’s main gateway is necessary, the TIA said.

The NT$10.7 billion (US$354 million) project is expected to be completed in 2015 at the earliest, with restoration to be halted for Lunar New Year holidays, the TIA said, adding that “traffic nightmares will be inevitable by that time.”

“Unfortunately, some flights will have to be moved to off-peak time slots,” TIA senior vice president Wen Yung-sung (溫永松) said, adding that more negotiations are needed with airlines to determine the extent of flight adjustments.

Wen said flights to and from Asian countries are more likely to be affected because they are mostly scheduled during peak hours, from 6am to 9am for departures and after 6pm for arrivals.

Wen said a possible increase in the number of cross-strait flights in the future might cause additional concerns. Currently, the number of direct cross-strait flights using the airport has reached 386 per week.

TIA’s runway restoration project has drawn criticism since last year, when initial construction was halted for nearly a month after the contractor in charge of the project went bankrupt.

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