Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) plans to install a foreign object and debris (FOD) detection system to monitor conditions on runways at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Jian-yu (陳建宇) said yesterday.
Chen made the remark in the wake of an incident on Thursday last week, in which an EVA Airways Corp aircraft sustained damage to its left horizontal stabilizer caused by the impact of a large piece of asphalt during takeoff on the southern runway.
Chen revealed the proposed procurement at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Transportation Committee, at which lawmakers were briefed on the nation’s rules on aviation safety.
However, Democratic Progressive Party legislators Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) and Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) and Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) remained focused on Thursday’s incident, after which the airline sought compensation from TIAC for the damage incurred.
Runway problems at the airport have not only caused flight delays, but also threaten aviation safety, Lee Kun-tse said.
“If problems continue, should passengers traveling from the airport first ask for blessings at temples before boarding aircraft?” he asked.
Lee Kun-tse questioned the quality of repair work, as TIAC spent NT$3 billion (US$91.7 million) on repairs to the southern runway, use of which resumed on Jan. 8.
The damage incurred to the EVA Air jet is expected to cost the firm close to NT$10 million, he said, adding that such an incident should not occur again.
In response, Chen said that the ministry respects the airline’s decision to seek reparations from TIAC.
To avoid the reoccurrence of similar incidents, Chen said TIAC has changed the pavement at both ends of the runway from asphalt to cement, adding that the firm plans to procure the FOD detection system — the same as the one used at Hong Kong International Airport — to monitor runway conditions at Taoyuan airport.
The northern runway, which is currently closed for repairs, is scheduled to reopen on Jan. 8 next year, Chen said.
Only one runway is in operation, while the number of aircraft landing and departing from the airport has grown from 150,000 to 200,000 per year, TIAC president David Fei (費鴻鈞) said.
Hydraulic fluid leaking from aircraft erode the pavement, Fei said.
The pavement has also been damaged by the expansion and contraction of its materials due to temperature changes and by torque generated by aircraft, Fei added.
The runway should be equipped with an expansion join to absorb such expansions and contractions from temperature changes, Lee Hung-chun said, adding that the design of the runways is flawed if that is the cause of the damage.
The Civil Aeronautics Administration and airlines disagreed with Fei regarding erosion being caused by hydraulic fluids, saying that the detection of a hydraulic fluid leak would result in an aircraft being grounded for immediate repairs.
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