Sat, Dec 29, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung mayor’s airport proposal meets skepticism

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Small planes and scattered vehicles are pictured at Kaohsiung International Airport yesterday.

Photo: CNA

A proposal by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to build a new international airport in southern Taiwan to boost local tourism drew mixed reactions yesterday.

In an interview on Eastern Broadcasting Co’s Crucial Moment (關鍵時刻), a political TV talk show, Han said that Kaohsiung should have a bigger airport to accommodate growing tourism demand.

Kaohsiung International Airport lacks enough spaces for larger passenger planes and cannot be expanded due a lack of adjoining land, he said.

Pingtung Airport, which was closed to civilian aircraft seven years ago, could be converted into a “Kaohsiung-Pingtung international airport,” as it has two runways and sits on an area the size of Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Han added.

Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Anne Wang (王淺秋) yesterday said that the idea was preliminary and the proposal was made in the hope of joining hands with Pingtung to boost local tourism.

“Kaohsiung International Airport may be enough to meet the city’s existing needs… but if tourism to Kaohsiung grows, it will inevitably need a larger international airport,” she said.

Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) withheld comment on the proposal, saying that he was uncertain what Han had said.

A Pingtung resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the military has other plans for Pingtung Airport and without a public transportation link to Kaohsiung, the plan would not be feasible.

Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) said that Pingtung’s two airports, Pingtung Airport and Hengchun Airport, see little traffic, so it would be better to supplement Kaohsiung’s airport capacity with that of Tainan Airport and Pingtung Airport.

A new airport could cost more than NT$100 billion (US$3.25 billion) to build, Huang said, adding that building a second Kaohsiung airport would be impractical and not financially wise.

Kaohsiung International Airport Deputy Director Fu Yao-nan (傅耀南) said the airport serves large passenger planes and there is still plenty of room before it reaches its maximum capacity.

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