Military agrees to back Taipei airport expansion plan

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's military has agreed to give up some the land it occupies at Taipei International Airport in support of the government's airport expansion plan, a senior official said Friday. Speaking at a ceremony celebrating the 66th anniversary of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), Transportation Minister Mao Chi-kuo said the military has promised to reduce its use of the city airport to a minimum and release extra land for the expansion project. "The scope of the airport's development has the chance to be expanded, which should help Taipei's competitiveness," Mao said. The CAA achieved its goal of positioning the Taipei International Airport as a hub for domestic, Northeast Asian and cross-Taiwan Strait flights last year, Mao said. The CAA, Taiwan's aviation regulator, now will work with the Taipei government to develop the land near the airport, which is also known as Songshan Airport, he said. According to the expansion program proposed by the CAA, the government is planning to invest between NT$30 billion (US$1.03 billion) and NT$40 billion to build a five-hectare commercial area around the airport. The project has drawn the interest of local investors, Mao said, with over 100 banking, real estate, tourism and construction companies attending an investment fair on the project organized by the CAA in November last year. (By Wang Shu-fen and Maia Huang)