Taoyuan airport upgrades security

SUPER SURVEILLANCE::Following the notorious 2011 ladder truck incident, the airport has added security similar to that of the US military, the company said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - Page 4

The Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said yesterday that it completed the installation of a new surveillance system last year in the nation’s largest airport, employing several state-of-the-art facilities used by the US military.

The airport began to step up its efforts to enhance airport security following an incident in 2011, when a woman intruded onto the airport’s restricted area by climbing over the perimeter wall that encircles the airport.

After entering the airport’s restricted zone, the woman drove onto the taxiway a ladder truck used by ground crew and eventually succeeded in boarding a China Airlines plane.

Several managers received demerits or warnings over the incident, including former TIAC president Samuel Lin (林鵬良).

The airport company’s director of operational safety Chen Chi-chia (陳志嘉) said the west side of the airport by the Pusin River (埔心溪) is now equipped with the same radar system that is used by the US military.

“The wall near the river is often damaged by typhoons, so the radar system is mainly used to protect the west side,” Chen said.

The airport company also purchased two thermographic cameras and installed them on the southern and northern boarding corridors, allowing the company to capture the images of objects 3km away.

Thermographic cameras will help identify an object once it appears in the radar system, Chen said.

“We need to make sure if the object is a stray animal or a person, because this will determine whether we should contact the Aviation Police Bureau or elevate the security level at the airport,” he said, adding that both the radar system and thermographic cameras had assisted the US military in desert-based combat operations.

According to the TIAC, the new radar system would enable it to target and track up to 350 objects at a time, unhindered by topography and weather.

The airport company said that it plans to install the intrusion detection system and surveillance cameras along 20km of the airport’s perimeter walls.

Aside from the installation of these new facilities, the airport company says it has also replaced old surveillance cameras and integrated different operating systems. It would also start building the second perimeter walls around the airport, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

The entire project is expected to cost about NT$200 million (US$6.54 million), the TIAC said.

In other news, the Airports Council International (ACI) has chosen Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to be in this year’s Airport Service Roll of Excellence, according to the TIAC.

The airport company said it is scheduled to be recognized for such a honor at the ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Assembly in Seoul on May 26.

Aside from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, those listed in the roll of excellence include Cairo International Airport in Egypt, Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, Keflavik International Airport in Iceland and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India.

In order to be qualified for the roll of excellence, an airport has to reach the top five in its region or in terms of airport passenger volume in the council’s evaluations of airport services for five years consecutively.

Prior to its achievement this year, the nation’s largest airport was ranked No. 3 in terms of services last year among airports that have annual passenger volumes of between 25 million and 40 million.

Twenty-one airports around the world have been recognized in the roll of excellence since the ACI created the annual awards in 2011. They included Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Changi International Airport in Singapore, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport in China, as well as Zurich Airport in Switzerland.