Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) yesterday said the government would only consider moving Taipei International Airport (Songshan) to another location if construction of the Airport Rail and the third runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are complete.
Yeh made the statement when he attended a forum on the future of the airport hosted by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智).
Former deputy minster of transportation and communications Ho Chen Tan (賀陳旦) and Hong Kong University professor Wang Wei-jen (王維仁) also attended the forum.
Yao said that Taipei airport should be torn down and turned into Taipei’s “Central Park,” which would allow Shilin (士林), Neihu (內湖) and other districts in Taipei to develop further.
The same proposal was also one of the campaign promises made by former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) when he was running for Taipei mayor in 2006.
Yeh said he admired Yao for having this dream.
However, shutting down Taipei airport would create a new set of issues, he said.
“Songshan serves as the air hub for the flights to and from northeastern Asia as well as for domestic flights, which is in a convenient location for business travelers,” Yeh said.
“If all the flight passengers are now required to take off from Taoyuan, separating the departing and arriving travelers would also be a problem,” he said.
Yeh said that his telephone would not stop ringing if people were stuck in traffic on the freeway, or delayed on trains by more than five minutes.
Residents in Kinmen, Mastsu and Penghu would find it unacceptable if airplanes landed in Taoyuan instead, he said.