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On November 17, the Taipei city government held a capital forum to discuss the relocation and revitalization of Songshan Airport. Delegate of Taipei City and Deputy Mayor Lin Chin-rong announced that Songshan Airport will be relocated by 2020, and by then “the martial law will be lifted from the capital’s airspace and no planes will travel from and to Songshan Airport.” Further development of the airport will be based on commonality and welfare.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je indicated during a speech that preserving or abolishing the airport is a massive issue that has great impact to the city’s development in the coming 50 years. He believes that it’s impossible to terminate the airport now as it provides service to 6.1 million tourists annually, or 20 thousand tourists daily. So the ideal solution is to alter its service by transferring it to Taoyuan Airport. However, the scheduled time for the completion of the third and fourth terminals at Taoyuan Airport, as well as a third runway, will influence the relocation of Songshan Airport.

Ko points out another major issue that will occur once Songshan Airport is relocated is the renovation of the massive space. On the other hand, the height restriction for Songshan Airport affects Taipei’s living area as it extends all the way to Keelung, taking up more than 3,000 hectares. Therefore, civil participation to determine the airport’s whereabouts is crucial. The issue of Songshan Airport can not be resolved solely by Taipei City, nor can a discussion with a couple of local authorities do the job. Consequently, a forum would be an ideal opportunity for officials from the central government and different cities to brainstorm.

Central News Agency reports, delegate for KMT’s presidential candidate Eric Chu and deputy mayor of New Taipei City Hou Yo-yee indicates that Chu has also expressed opinions during his time as mayor. New Taipei City’s urban planning develops alongside transportation flow such as the Xindian Creek and Tamshui river, therefore Songshan Airport has a great impact on the city with issues relating to subsequent industries or tourism having to be extended in the future. In the long term, relocating the airport is a favorable act.

DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s delegate and legislator Yao Wen-chi indicates that Songshan Airport has little national defense value and is detrimental to national security. Referring to the French terrorist attack and 911 incident, Yao explains that Songshan Airport is merely one kilometer away from the Ministry of National Defense, thus overlaps with and pines down Taiyuan Airport.

Yao states that there is more than enough capacity for the two airports to be integrated, so relocating Songshan Airport is an issue of airport management. Tsai’s policy of fully utilizing the greater Taipei Metropolis is in favor of relocating Songshan Airport before 2020, and it will be up to the collaboration between central and local governments to make it happen.

UDN reports, Taoyuan Mayor Zheng Wen-can states the premise to Songshan Airport’s relocation is the completion of Taoyuan Aerotropolis. The initial stage is to collect opinions through public hearing, and up to November 16, 24 hearings have been held.

The public opinion is currently in favor of issues relating to the third runway and industrial development. A final decision will be made next year after the official hearing. Zheng points out that according to the plan, the third and fourth terminal will be completed in respectively 2020 and 2018, while the third runway will be finished in 2030. The central government ought to adjust the schedule accordingly to prevent land-expropriating disputes.

Apple Daily reports, Taipei City Deputy Mayor Lin Chin-rong states future urban development of the site will not be based on housing estates and the government will “elevate required areas, while preserving needed greenery at the same time.” As there is still a period of time before the airport’s relocation, future utilization of the space would seek opinions from all sectors.

Translated by Wade Cheng
Edited by Olivia Yang