Taipei--The chances of relocating Songshan Airport in Taipei are nil within the next two decades and the city and the airport need to learn to live with each other, the head of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said Thursday.
CAA Director-General Lin Kuo-shian (???) said that if an assessment on relocation shows that it is affordable, the CAA will execute it according to policy.
But he said that he thinks relocation "is impossible in the next 20 years," and that in the meantime, the city and the airport must learn to co-exist.
He cited Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands and Changi International Airport in Singapore as how both are examples of co-prosperity between cities and airports.
He made the remarks at a two-day forum in Taipei on Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, in which Taipei Deputy Mayor Lin Chin-rong (???) again raised the issue of relocating the airport.
The deputy mayor said the central government has decided to step up development of the Taoyuan airport, and should pay attention to the relocation of Songshan Airport, especially because it is located within a prime business area of the capital.
Lin Chin-rong said that the hinterland of Songshan Airport is too small and does not qualify as an international airport as recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The facilities at the airport are dilapidated, and there are other problems such as curfews and the fact that flight routes of Taoyuan and Songshan airports can interfere with each other.
He said that if Songshan Airport is relocated, half of the premises could be turned into a forest park, while an extended MRT network would bring prosperity to not only Taipei, but also New Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung.
Lin Kuo-shian said Songshan Airport was originally in suburban Taipei, but has gradually been encircled because of urban development.
But he said it is currently a small, beautiful and low-cost airport that earns praise, even from world experts.
He said that if the airport is relocated, the flight routes to the outlying islands will be the most difficult to replace, saying that all local-level officials are concerned about whether their areas will have convenient transportation to Taipei.
Professor Chang Chin-oh (???) of National Cheng Chi University said that he has yet to see a professional assessment of the pros and cons of relocating the airport.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel