Taipei, Jan. 22 (CNA) Southern Taiwan's Tainan Airport hasobtained the green light from the Civil Aeronautics Administration(CAA) to open to international flights, starting with routes to andfrom Asian countries, the CAA said Saturday.
The CAA approval came after lawmakers from Tainan strongly urgedthe transportation authorities to allow the airport to offerinternational flights to boost utilization of the airport and enhanceits revenue.
However, no date has been set on when the airport will beginhandling international flights.
The CAA and other relevant government agencies will carry outfurther inspections of the airport's facilities for implementation ofcustoms, immigration, quarantine and security checks (CIQS) next weekbefore deciding when the new services will begin.
Yeh Kuan-shih, Vice Minister of Transportation andCommunications, will visit the airport Jan. 24 to supervise theinspections and examine the installation of the CIQS facilities.
Yeh said the ministry will lend full support to transforming theTainan Airport into an international airport.
Currently, the Tainan Airport provides only two flights to theoutlying Kinmen Islands and three flights to Penghu daily. Flightsfrom Tainan to other cities in Taiwan were previously available, butwith the services ended due to insufficient demand after Taiwan'sHigh Speed Rail opened.
As the airport is not included in an agreement on direct airlinks across the Taiwan Strait, Yeh said, Taiwan and China needfurther negotiations before the airport is permitted to provideservices to Chinese cities.
Under the cross-strait airline accord, a total of eight airportsin Taiwan are allowed to provide flights to China.
They are the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the TaipeiSongshan Airport, the Kaohsiung International Airport, the TaichungAirport, the Hualien Airport, the Taitung Airport, the Kinmen Airportand the Magong Airport.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)