Parking is never a problem at Montreal-Mirabel International Airport, where entire days go by without a single passenger passing through the terminal. The granite floors are squeaky clean, the carpets look brand new, the aluminum trimmings are polished. \nIt must have made a handy set for Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones for their recent film The Terminal. But as an airport, it is one of the great white elephants of aeronautics history -- one that mirrors many of Montreal's -- and Quebec province's -- growing pains over the last half-century. \nPrime Minister Pierre Trudeau labeled the airport "a project for the 21st century" when his government promoted it in the late 1960s, viewing it as a tool to help Montreal develop into a global cultural and financial magnet and as glue to keep Quebec in Canada. The US$1 billion airport was revolutionary in its design, with a railroad station in its basement and a road tunnel under the runways to take drivers right to its international terminal. \nBut on Oct. 31 the final passenger flight -- an Air Transit charter flight to Paris -- will take off from its tarmac, and its once-supermodern terminal will be converted into a training center, or a casino, or a shopping center depending on the bids Aeroports de Montreal receives. \nWhen Mirabel opened its gates in 1975, its managers predicted it would someday handle as many as 50 million passengers annually. But it never handled more than 2.8 million passengers in a year, and its operations have been winding down for years. \n"We thought Mirabel was the gateway to the future, when it was really the exit ramp," said Josh Freed, a documentary filmmaker and a columnist for The Montreal Gazette. \nMirabel's sad story is a tale of planning mistakes and political paralysis. Bitter disputes between the federal government in Ottawa and a series of separatist provincial governments in Quebec City stymied the building of a high-speed rail link or even a superhighway to connect the airport to downtown Montreal. \nCanadian air transport specialists had expected airlines to move to Mirabel because of its updated facilities and in response to complaints from residents on the west side of Montreal island that the noisy Boeing 707s landing in the Montreal-Dorval International Airport were making their lives unbearable. \nCanadian planners foresaw the day when the supersonic Concorde would ferry Europeans across the Atlantic to Mirabel in a flash, enabling passengers to reach Montreal or Ottawa. \nBut soon after Mirabel opened, the much quieter Boeing 747 came to dominate international travel. \n"Mirabel is a monument to unfinished dreams," said Jacques Roy, a transportation specialist at HEC Montreal business school, "dreams to provide Montreal with facilities to put us on the map for the future." \nWhen planners and architects began working on the airport in 1967, Montreal was holding the highly successful Expo 67 World's Fair and there was a rush to build skyscrapers, an extensive subway system, highways, a performing arts center and a sizable underground shopping mall. These features define the city's contours to this day.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator