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Songshan Airport to stay in use for 15 years: minister

TAIPEI--Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) ruled out Monday the possibility of scrapping Taipei Songshan Airport anytime in the next 15 years, dismissing a proposal by some mayoral aspirants to turn the downtown airport into a park.

Speaking during a radio interview, Yeh noted that the airport is conveniently located within the capital and has been experiencing rapid traffic growth in recent years following the launch of direct routes to and from Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport and Seoul's Gimpo International Airport.

Although the metro system linking Taipei to Taiwan's major international gateway, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, is set to open at the end of next year, Songshan Airport's passenger traffic is unlikely to shift to the Taoyuan airport until a third runway is completed there, the minister said.

What to do with Taipei's municipal airport, once used mostly only for Taiwan's few domestic flights, is an issue that tends to crop up ahead of local elections. Two main concerns are noise caused by air traffic and limits on the heights of buildings around the airport.

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