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EVA Air slams runway maintenance at Taoyuan airport

2015/11/12 17:00:19

CNA file photo

Seattle, Nov. 11 (CNA) EVA Airways, Taiwan's second-largest carrier, on Thursday blamed Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for the damage to one of its planes last month, saying that pieces of asphalt were flying off the runway during takeoff.

As a result, the tail of the EVA aircraft was damaged, a problem that the captain was unaware of until the plane landed in Taiyuan City in northern China, the airline said.

The broken tarmac posed a serious threat to the safety of the passengers and crew on the flight, said company Chairman Chang Kuo-wei (張國煒), adding that the airport was trying to downplay the Oct. 31 incident.

The damage may cost the airline up to NT$10 million (US$306,000), Chang said, demanding that the Taoyuan airport foot the bill.

Chang, who was in Seattle to take delivery of EVA's 22nd Boeing 777-300ER from the U.S. aviation giant, said the runway maintenance situation at the airport was "unbelievable" and should not be tolerated.

In response, the airport said it is investigating the cause of the damage to the EVA aircraft, and will take responsibility if it is found to be at fault.

The airport also said it will consult with Singapore and Hong Kong on the use of ground radar to automatically monitor runway conditions around the clock.

On Oct. 31, the captain of the EVA Air flight noticed that pieces of asphalt were flying off the runway during takeoff from Taoyuan airport and discovered on landing in China that the tail of the aircraft had been damaged.

The airline had to send another plane to pick up some 100 passengers, who were booked on the return flight to Taiwan.

(By Wei Shu, Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)