The Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday said that it is considering allowing the China Aviation Development Foundation to operate the Chung Cheng Aviation Museum.
Opened in 1981, the museum was commissioned by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and designed and built by Boeing Co. The museum, which is on the grounds of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, has proved to be a popular field trip destination for primary and junior-high school students.
Apart from learning about aviation and Taiwan’s aviation history, visitors can also view retired aircraft, as well as various model aircraft in the museum’s outdoor and indoor exhibition areas.
Taoyuan International Airport Co (TIAC) chairman Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬) said that the company needs to move the airport’s taxiway because of preliminary construction for the airport’s No. 3 terminal and the museum would have to be relocated.
The museum is scheduled to be closed in September and torn down before the end of this year. It is due to be rebuilt at a former naval base in Taoyuan, which has become part of the airport park.
According to the airport company, the museum has been suffering financial losses of between NT$10 million (US$335,000) and NT$20 million annually because of its extremely low entrance fees, with a ticket for an adult costing only NT$30.
The company said that it would focus on the construction of the airport’s third terminal in the next few years and the museum should be operated by a third party.
The airport company has officially proposed to the ministry that the museum continue to operate as an organization that serves the public interest, adding that it considers the China Aviation Development Foundation an appropriate agency to take over the museum’s operation.
The foundation’s chairman is Transportation and Communications Deputy Minister Chen Jian-yu (陳建宇).
Transportation and Communications Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said that the ministry is still weighing all the possible options for the museum and has yet to make a final decision.
Chen said that the foundation would be willing to operate the museum if it was evaluated as viable.
The airport company said that the new aviation museum would have an indoor area of about 8,275m2 and an outdoor exhibit area of approximately 6 hectares, which is larger than the current facility. The construction costs are an estimated NT$700 million.