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Incheon Airport targets 106m travelers a year

The Incheon International Airport Level 4 construction site was revealed to reporters on Wednesday. (IIAC)
The Incheon International Airport Level 4 construction site was revealed to reporters on Wednesday. (IIAC)
Incheon Airport is pumping up its Level 4 construction plan, a project to expand its second passenger terminal, to maintain its leading position as an air transport hub in East Asia.

The 4.84 trillion won ($3.69 billion) Level 4 construction plan involves a major upgrade of the airport’s infrastructure, through measures such as expanding its flight network and building a new runway.

This year, the Incheon International Airport Corp. will focus on the expansion of Terminal 2 and its parking lot, as well as building connecting roads within the airport.

“We are nearly done with the steel framework on the west wing side of Terminal 2. The construction to expand Terminal 2 will be completed in October 2024, and it will be operating starting from November 2024. The size that will be augmented is 90 percent that of the current Terminal 2,” Joo Ken, deputy vice president of the construction division at IIAC, told reporters during a media tour around the construction site on Wednesday.

Joo explained that Level 4 construction is 43.3 percent close to completion.

“The materials used on the roof, such as purlin, are imported from Russia. But because we already had them stocked, the global supply shortage did not affect us,” said Joo, in reference to raw material supply shortages resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

The airport aims to complete at least 50 percent of construction by the second half of this year, according to the IIAC on Wednesday.

The new connecting roads between Terminal 2 and 1 would improve passenger transportation and boarding timeliness.

With an expanded parking lot at Terminal 2, the airport would be able to accommodate a total of 19,476 cars, which is 12,030 more cars than its current capacity of 7,446.

Once the master plan is completed in 2024, Incheon Airport will become the world’s third-largest international airport, with a service capacity of 106 million travelers annually.

It will also become the first airport in the world to have two terminals capable of handling 50 million travelers each.

“Once the construction is completed, passengers will have diverse facilities to enjoy at the airport such as beautiful gardens in Terminal 2, and have more personal space to move around in the airport because of its spaciousness after expansion,” said Joo.

The IIAC expects construction to create 60,000 jobs and have an economic ripple effect worth around 13 trillion won. This will not only help the regional economy, but also help the country’s economy flourish, it said.

The Level 4 construction plan also involves transforming Incheon Airport into a smart and innovative airport. For instance, it plans to implement a “smart pass” system that uses passengers’ biometric information to allow them swift passage through the boarding process, and thus reduce traffic.

The airport also plans to make Terminal 2 more artistic by displaying media arts and kinetic statues.

The IIAC is also trying to enhance the sustainability of Terminal 2, by using more geothermal energy, solar energy and natural lighting.

“We will continue to secure our position as the gateway to major countries around the world by gaining a competitive advantage in the global airport market through a successful completion of Level 4 construction,” said Kim Kyung-wook, president and CEO of IIAC.

By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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