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Gimhae airport was best choice in terms of geography: ADPi chief engineer

The chief engineer of the French engineering company who was in charge of the feasibility study on building a new gateway airport in South Korea said Wednesday that expanding Busan's existing airport was the best choice in terms of geography.

Jean-Marie Chevallier of ADPi said Gimhae International Airport will be able to become an efficient and convenient airport with a new 3,200-km-long runway and a passenger terminal.

At present the airport has two runways with one being reserved for military planes.

The remarks were made a day after the South Korean government announced it had scrapped a long-running plan to build a new airport in the southeastern region, but instead chose to push for the expansion of Gimhae airport.

The announcement came after the French company, owned by the Paris Airport Group, conducted a year-long study on two candidate sites -- Miryang, a rural town located between Busan and Daegu, and Busan's Gadeok Island -- as well as other options.

If a new airport is built in Miryang or Gadeok Island, it would have provided a lower quality of service compared to an expanded Gimhae airport, he told Yonhap News Agency.

The chief engineer said the company had shortlisted the three places by the end of March and reached a conclusion just before departing from France.

The crew from the French company delivered the result to South Korea's transport ministry upon their arrival here Monday and held a press conference on the next day.

There have been growing calls for a new airport in the southeastern Gyeongsang region as Gimhae International Airport, located on the southwestern outskirts of Busan, has long been overwhelmed with inbound and outbound tourists as well as domestic travelers.

Despite a fierce competition that arose between the two regions, Chevallier said there was no pressure from a third party when making the decision. (Yonhap)

Korea Herald daum