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Hengchun Airport faces August 2016 deadline

Hengchun Airport faces August 2016 deadline

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – After lawmakers demanded the closure of Hengchun Airport in Pingtung County, the Ministry of Transportation Wednesday said it would decide the airport’s fate next August after a feasibility study about international charter flights.
Not a single passenger arrived at or departed at the airport over the past year, even though Hengchun includes one of Taiwan’s most popular beach resorts and national parks. Most visitors travel to the area by car or by train and bus.
Keeping the airport open costs the taxpayer NT$66 million (US$2 million) per year, legislators said Wednesday, arguing in favor of immediate closure. While there is still annual income estimated at NT$1.34 million (US$41,000), the total cost of running the near-empty airport amounts to NT$67.56 million (US$2 million), legislators said. Part of the problem is a number of restrictions, such as frequent winds which make landings and takeoffs dangerous, as well as the presence of the nearby third nuclear plant.
The Ministry of Transportation said it would not order the airport to close as long as a study about the launch of international charter flights had not been completed. The NT$2 million (US$61,500) study was ordered by the Pingtung County Government and would be finished by August 2016, officials said.
Some lawmakers pointed out that Southern Taiwan already had an international airport, Xiaogang in Kaohsiung, which had an international occupancy rate of only about 50 percent, reports said.
After Hengchun Airport was launched in 2004, flights initially carried more than 23,000 passengers a year, but that amount fell sharply to about 700, or two a day, last year.


Updated : 2021-09-20 08:31 GMT+08:00