Tue, Aug 25, 2015 - Page 4 News List

X-ray CT machines in active use: TIAC

JOINT DECISION:A Taoyuan International Airport Corp official said passengers’ convenience had been prioritized and that the move had not compromised flight safety

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) yesterday denied that it has not been using some of its X-ray computed tomography (CT) machines to scan passengers’ luggage, adding that luggage conveyor belts leading to the machines were removed to facilitate the movement of passengers inside Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

A report published yesterday by the Chinese-language Apple Daily said that the machines were purchased six years ago by the Aviation Police Bureau to enhance flight safety for aircraft bound for the US following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

According to the report, the bureau purchased six X-ray CT machines, each costing NT$35 million (US$1.06 million).

The Apple Daily said that the TIAC earlier this year removed the conveyor belts leading to two of the machines to create more space for a passageway inside the airport’s Terminal Two, which the company said would expedite the process of passengers going through security checks.

It said the move equated to NT$70 million of taxpayers’ money being wasted.

In addition to the machines not being used, the removal of the conveyor belts means workers have to carry luggage to machines that are still in use, the story added.

The TIAC’s actions have prompted accusations that the company was wasting taxpayers’ money and compromising flight safety, the report said.

TIAC maintenance division director Sun Hong-bin (孫宏彬) said that the two X-ray CT machines were previously placed behind the No. 8, No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11 check-in counters.

He said that the company’s decision to relocate the conveyor belts leading to the two machines was to ensure that passengers had more space to move inside the terminal and to facilitate departing passengers’ access to the security checkpoint, adding that the decision was made following a joint discussion with the Aviation Police Bureau and airline companies.

Sun said the main function of the machines is to more thoroughly inspect luggage if security personnel have concerns over items inside after preliminary inspections via regular X-ray machines.

He said that X-ray CT machines have also been used to conduct random inspections of luggage belonging to passengers flying to the US.

On average, only one or two pieces of luggage from every 100 requires a more thorough inspection using X-ray CT machines, Sun said, adding that all TIAC X-ray CT machines are still in active use and functioning normally.

In other news, some Taiwanese airlines yesterday announced changes to their schedule for flights between Taiwan and Japan today because of Typhoon Goni, which was pounding the Ryukyu Islands yesterday afternoon.

China Airlines said Flight CI116 and Flight CI117 between Taoyuan and Fukuoka, and Flight CI111 from Fukuoka to Taoyuan, are to be delayed.

Flight CI116 is scheduled to depart Taoyuan at 4:50pm, while Flight CI117 and Flight CI111 are scheduled to depart Fukuoka at 9pm and 9:30pm respectively, China Airlines said.

Typhoon Goni is expected to hit Kyushu, Japan, this morning before heading out to sea, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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