Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) will remain at its current location for at least another 15 years and is unlikely to be abandoned anytime soon, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday.
Yeh made the comment when he was interviewed by radio host Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍) for his talk show yesterday morning.
“The Airport Rail is scheduled to be launched next year, but we have to wait until Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport has a third runway before passengers in Taipei can transfer to Taoyuan,” Yeh said.
“The runway will not be completed for another decade,” he added.
The issue of relocating Songshan airport is almost always brought up during election campaigns.
This year, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智) said he would demolish the airport and turn it into a large park if he were elected Taipei mayor.
Yao dropped out of the race after losing to the National Taiwan University Hospital physician Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in opinion polls conducted by the DPP on Thursday last week to unify the pan-green camp around a single candidate in the Taipei race.
Yeh said that Songshan airport has seen a rapid increase in passenger volume after it launched direct flights to Haneda Airport in Japan, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai and Kimpo Airport in South Korea. All four airports form a “Golden Aviation Circle in East Asia,” allowing businesspeople to quickly enter the downtown area in the city once they land at the airport, he said.
However, some legislators say the airport is an impediment to development of real estate in the Songshan area, as the buildings in the area are subject to height restrictions for flight safety reasons.
The noise generated by flights is another reason that the residents want the airport moved somewhere else.
Meanwhile, Yeh said that increasing cross-strait flights should not require a review by the Legislative Yuan and should be dealt with directly by administrative agencies.
“Now, all the agreements can only be enforced after regulations on the cross-strait monitoring mechanism are passed by the Legislative Yuan and any agreement involving cross-strait affairs must be reviewed by legislators. The procedure is both inefficient and unnecessary,” Yeh said.