Tainan Airport gets green light for international flights


TAIPEI — Southern Taiwan’s Tainan Airport has obtained the green light from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to open to international flights, starting with routes to and from Asian countries, the CAA said yesterday.

The CAA approval came after lawmakers from Tainan strongly urged the transportation authorities to allow the airport to offer international flights to boost utilization of the airport and enhance its revenue.

However, no date has been set on when the airport will begin handling international flights.

The CAA and other relevant government agencies will carry out further inspections of the airport’s facilities for implementation of customs, immigration, quarantine and security checks (CIQS) next week before deciding when the new services will begin.

Yeh Kuan-shih, Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications, will visit the airport Jan. 24 to supervise the inspections and examine the installation of the CIQS facilities.

Yeh said the ministry will lend full support to transforming the Tainan Airport into an international airport.

Currently, the Tainan Airport provides only two flights to the outlying Kinmen Islands and three flights to Penghu daily. Flights from Tainan to other cities in Taiwan were previously available, but with the services ended due to insufficient demand after Taiwan’s High Speed Rail opened.

As the airport is not included in an agreement on direct air links across the Taiwan Strait, Yeh said, Taiwan and China need further negotiations before the airport is permitted to provide services to Chinese cities.

Under the cross-strait airline accord, a total of eight airports in Taiwan are allowed to provide flights to China.

They are the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the Taipei Songshan Airport, the Kaohsiung International Airport, the Taichung Airport, the Hualien Airport, the Taitung Airport, the Kinmen Airport and the Magong Airport.