Fri, Jul 01, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Officials detail expansion plans for Taichung Airport

By Ou Su-mei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, staff writer

Taichung Airport is planning major expansions of its facilities next year to facilitate its upgrade into an international airport, government officials and lawmakers said at a conference at the airport on Wednesday.

The conference on the future of Taichung Airport was attended by Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) and representatives of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taichung City Government.

The meeting was convened to discuss the airport’s transformation into an international airport by improving its freight and passenger capacity, and to ensure that it would become an important traffic node and not be relegated to an adjunct to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Tsai said.

Taichung Airport director Chang Jui-shu (張瑞澍) said that to meet an anticipated increase in demand, the airport has started construction of a second taxiway that is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Seven remote and overnight bays will also start construction between next year and 2018.

The airport’s main terminal is to be expanded to accommodate international and domestic flights. The contract is to be tendered next year with a target completion date of 2019. The plans are to be submitted to the Executive Yuan next year, Chang added.

Taichung City Government representatives said that construction of the international airport facilities should be expedited, with dedicated runways planned for military and civilian air traffic.

They said that the airport expansion should serve regional economic development and that the transportation linkage between the airport and Taichung’s economic hinterland should be bolstered, with a target capacity objective of handling 10 million passengers a year.

New Power Party Legislator Hung Tzu-yung (洪慈庸) said that the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) should plan to promote balanced regional development, with an emphasis on reordering the nation’s air routes and waypoints to divert freight and passenger air traffic, and to integrate Taichung airport’s expansion with the city’s economic policy.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) said that air traffic policy has changed in recent years, and rather than concentrating solely on Taoyuan airport, the ministry’s plans would emphasize regional economic development.

Hochen added that in developing Taichung international airport, the ministry foresees a close relationship between the airport, the defense ministry and the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp to advance the nation’s aeronautic research and maintenance.

Taichung Deputy Mayor Lin Ling-shan (林陵三) said that the city government had successfully negotiated with the defense ministry, and the airport’s no-fly hours are to be reduced from the 11pm to 7am enforced at present, to 12am to 7am, and that defense officials had agreed to increase its daily flight quota from 58 to 85.

Lin added that the aerospace corporation had agreed to allow the CAA to use its idle land for taxiways, which should decrease wait time at the airport.

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