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Taipei Int'l Airport lands in hot water after half-hearted safety drills claims

The Taipei International Airport, also known as Songshan Airport, was criticized for running an apparently half-hearted air traffic safety drill yesterday.

The drill simulated a scenario in which an MD-90D airplane slid off the runway during landing. Over 200 airline employees, police, firefighters and soldiers participated in the drill. They started by evacuating passengers and crew members. After making sure there was no sign of fire, they removed the black box and relocated the aircraft.

The exercise, however, failed to realistically represent the aircraft's movement and functions, an oversight which has drawn criticism about the drill's authenticity.

The director of Taipei International Airport, Yang Kuo-Fen (楊國峰), said that the airport's runways were all in use when the drill was run, so it was not possible to hold a full-blown drill. Also, authorities were worried about scratching the aircraft so they could only practice responders' actions during the drill, Yang added.

The drill focused on simulating key procedures, Yang stressed..

The Apple Daily reported on its website yesterday that the airport did not risk scratching the MD-90D airplane because it has already been mortgaged to the bank.

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Participants simulate holding air bags under an aircraft's wings in a drill to practice moving a grounded plane, at Taipei International Airport yesterday morning. An air traffic safety drill was held at the airport on how to evacuate passengers and crew members and relocate an aircraft has slide off the runway. (CNA)

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