Since the TransAsia plane crash in Taipei 2 days ago, the Songshan airport (台北松山機場) located near Taipei city center is very criticized. Indeed, the plane from TransAsia took off from this airport before crashing moments after in the Keelung river.[See related article: TransAsia announced new safety measures]
Songshan airport serves domestic flights to Taiwan but also International flights to China, Japan and South Korea. Since 1979 and the inauguration of Taoyuan Airport; Unions and lobbies (Supported by former DPP Taipei Mayor candidates Lee Ying-yuan and Frank Hsieh) protest every year against the danger that Songshan airport represents. They always asked that this airport stop all activities. But, Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou put pressure in order to make Songshan airport the main cross-strait terminal. On March 2011, Songshan Terminal 2 was re-opened after being refurbished in order to welcome increased number of passengers.
Peanuts Daily interviewed Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) who told us his thoughts:
Songshan airport is still a very big success. The accident is apparently linked to an engine failure and not the fact it is located downtown. I am very proud to have it continued and developed its activities. The airport is convenient for business travellers and that is what matters. Noise pollution, flight safety because of high building near the airport or radio communication interferences are not important compared to money we can make with China thanks to this airport. I personally believe that having planes taking off and landing in the middle of the city is very safe. When I was still Mayor of Taipei, I was actually planning to open a Terminal near Taipei 101.
This is pretty clear that Ma Ying-jeou is happy with Songshan Airport and according to our president, saving time while doing business is important. If Songshan airport stays open after the horrific plane crash, we can deduct this is for obvious business reasons with our partner China. The irony is that most of TransAsia GE235 passengers were Chinese.
Author: Ms. Chow-Vei, Annakei.