Around 500 passengers were put on a waiting list at the Magong Airport in Penghu yesterday, a result of people returning to the main island of Taiwan facing multiple flight cancellations.
The large population of travelers was a result of the winding down of the Chinese New Year holiday. After visiting families in Penghu, people originally scheduled return trips back to the main island yesterday.
According to airport staff at Magong Airport, the airport had to shut down operations at around 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning because of thick fog. The airport later reopened at 7:30 a.m.
However, as the closing of the airport prevents the landing of any aircraft, a TransAsia Airways plane had to delay its arrival to Magong until 11:40 a.m. Other airlines were also forced to delay their flights for two to three hours.
To respond to the problem, the Penghu County Government established waiting list sign-up stations at the airport. The stations were reportedly flooded with passengers who were eager to be on the list from as early as 5 a.m.
Travelers who signed up for various destinations numbered around 500. The county government was said to have been so shorthanded that a division head from the county's department of tourism and a legislator were onsite to provide assistance. Penghu County Magistrate Chen Kuang-fu was also at the airport to conduct emergency protocols so that extra flights could be deployed from Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Military planes were also on used yesterday to transport some of the waiting passengers.
GE507 Remains Grounded
In related news, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced that TransAsia Flight GE507 will remain grounded yesterday.
The flight, scheduled to embark from Taipei Songshan Airport to Magong Airport the day before, returned to Songshan Airport after its captain reported signal abnormalities involving the torque of the plane during takeoff at 12:46 p.m. The pilot later returned the plane to Songshan Airport at 1:04 p.m. for further checkups.
Reportedly, after parts involved in the signal malfunction were replaced, further tests were conducted on the ATR-500 model aircraft yesterday. The CAA stated that TransAsia has already contacted the manufacturer of the plane.
The CAA also said that the main problem the day before was from the craft's first engine, though the engine itself is undamaged. Even though the matter was a simple signal error, the standard operating procedure dictates that the plane will remain grounded until administrators approve it for flying.