Thu, May 04, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Pingtung airport likely to reopen, Pan Men-an says

Staff writer, with CNA

Pingtung County’s Hengchun Airport might be reopened because the Executive Yuan has, in principle, agreed to plans to use the airport for international charter flights for two years on a trial basis, Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said on Tuesday.

The airport, which opened in 2004 with the aim of boosting tourism to Kenting, has been closed since September 2014 due to low passenger numbers and seasonal strong winds that make flying dangerous.

Because of its short runway, the airport can only be used by small aircraft, most of which have only 72 seats.

However, the county government has proposed reopening the airport for international charter flights.

Based on the results of a feasibility study released late last year, the Executive Yuan agreed to a two year trial, Pan said.

He said the trial could begin after the county government and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications discuss how to implement the plan.

The airport could serve as a boost for the government’s “new southbound policy,” which aims to forge closer economic ties with ASEAN, South Asian nations, Australia and New Zealand, and reduce economic dependence on China, Pan said.

If the trial is successful, the runway might be extended and equipment and facilities for night navigation might be improved to help further boost passenger numbers and tourism in Hengchun Township.

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