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Runway at Taiwan's biggest airport set to re-open after repairs

2012/01/02 18:14:28

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) The north runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is expected to be re-opened Jan. 8 after being shut down for over three months for repairs, Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIA) said Monday.

The completion of the preliminary rehabilitation of the aging, worn runway and its taxiway has been a high priority for the airport because they will be needed to help handle a surge in traffic beginning Jan. 9, the company said.

The airport will see sizable increases in flights in the coming weeks as Taiwanese citizens based in China return home to vote in the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections or come back for the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan. 21.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration, Taiwan's aviation regulator, will conduct take-off and landing tests and inspect all aspects of the work before it decides whether or not to give the runway and taxiway the green light, TIA said.

The north runway was closed on Sept. 15, 2011 for repairs that were expected to be completed by Dec. 13, but work was delayed for nearly a month when the contractor in charge of the project went bankrupt.

The airport needed to hold three tenders before RSEA Engineering Corp. finally won the contract on Nov. 20.

Media reports speculated that few companies were willing to bid for the job because of the tight Jan. 8 deadline, and RSEA Engineering Corp. has been forced to work around-the-clock to meet the schedule.

The preliminary rehabilitation of the north runway is part of an overhaul of the airport's two runways and other taxiways to be completed by 2014. The government allocated NT$10.7 billion (US$356 million) in 2011 for the project.

The airport's north and south runways have been in service for decades and are no longer able to meet increasing demand expected over the next 20 years.

The rehabilitation project was launched to prolong the north runway's life so that the south runway could be closed for a complete overhaul.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Deborah Kuo)
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