IIA Eyeing Designation
as World-Class Hub Port

Striving to make another leap forward with the completion of the second expansion project

Incheon International Airport (IIA) made its debut in 2001, capping one of the most successful state projects since Korea's foundation. With the completion of the second expansion, IIA is now poised to make another leap forward as one of the top-rated global hub ports.
IIA has gone from strength to strength to become a globally recognized airport. The airport has grown to rank second in the world in terms of cargo and 11th in terms of passengers. It has snatched a couple of international awards in recognition of providing the best service. For example, IIA won the Best Airport Worldwide Award, a kind of overall ranking of a survey of airport services conducted by the Airport Council International (ACI). BBC World picked IIA as Korea's best tourism brand together with kimchi, skiing and the tour to Gaeseong, North Korea.
A look into its aviation performance in the past seven years reflects well the airport's outward growth. In the passenger sector, IIA handled 21 million passengers in 2002, one year after its debut.
The figure jumped to 30 million passengers in 2007 with the number of airlines operating flights to and from the airport increasing from 47 to 67. In particular, the airport handled 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2007 with an annual average growth rate of more than 10 percent to place second in the world.
IIA's outward growth is owed not only to the region's aviation demand with an annual growth rate of 6 percent and its location at the heart of the Northeast Asian economic sphere, but also to its efforts to create a client-specific environment, including constant marketing activities, the establishment of mid- and long-term logistics strategies, the opening of a free trade zone and the development of value-added logistics business models.
IIA has joined the ranks of global-best ports in the software field on top of its impressive outward growth. The airport ranked first in a survey of airport services conducted by ACI for the third straight year and swept all four categories in the survey.
The airport has snatched numerous airports awards in Korea and abroad. It was selected as the world's best airport for the second straight year in 2007 by travel magazine Global Traveler.
IIA was at the top in overall standings in the fourth survey of world airports handling more than 1 million tons of cargo, conducted by the prestigious cargo magazine Air Cargo World to gain global recognition in the passenger service category as well as the cargo sector.
The airport is now fitted with the CAT-IIB system designed to enable the safe landing of aircraft if visibility of more than 100 meters is secured. It reached yet another impressive milestone of operating 1 million flights without accidents in October 2007.
IIA's foremost focus is on the logistics sector with the goal of becoming a world-class hub port. The airport has achieved an impressive performance in the logistics field in the seven years since its opening.
IIA has established itself as a logistics hub of Northeast Asia
as the volume of transshipment cargoes it has handled accounts for more than 50 percent of its total. The airport ranked second in the world in terms of cargo volume.
The airport has not rested on its laurels with a view of becoming a logistics hub port of Northeast Asia. In 2006, IIA opened a free trade zone, launched the road feeder service (RFS) between Incheon and Qingdao, built up the radio-frequency identification (RFID) infrastructure and launched the air cargo information system (AIRCIS).
The airport's operation of the free trade zone in its backwater area is designed to play a role as an advance base for IIA's being a logistics hub of Northeast Asia.
Since its inauguration in March 2006, the Incheon International Airport Corporation Free Trade Zone is already occupied by such logistics juggernauts as AMB, DB Schenker, DHL, TNT and Korean and foreign airlines. Other companies want to follow suit, showing an occupation rate of 76 percent, higher than those of its rivals, including Shanghai and Dubai. The airport is scrambling to develop the second phase of the free trade zone to brace for its full occupation.
It is also pushing ahead with a plan to construct the projected Aviation Center in its neighborhood as an integrated value-added logistics center covering R&D, production and transportation.
As the Northeast Asian region emerges as one of the world's top three trading spheres and its aviation demand is projected to rise at the fastest pace in the world, China, Japan and their neighbor countries are scrambling to expand their airport infrastructure in order to secure a scale of economy.
In an effort to secure a strategic upper hand over its rivals, IIA has successfully completed the second expansion project costing 3 trillion won over six years from 2002 with the goal of upgrading its operation and service capacity another notch. With the grand opening of the expansion on June 20, the airport has secured its position as a world-class hub port.
With the completion of the second expansion, including the construction of another two-story passenger terminal with five basement floors and 166,000 sq. meters of floor space and an additional 4,000-meter runway capable of accommodating such next-generation aircraft as A380s, IIA is now fitted with world-class airport hardware capable of handling 44 million passengers and 4.5 million tons of cargo annually.
The airport is offering services ranging from reservations and check-in to shopping and boarding in a faster and more convenient manner as it is fitted with a ubiquitous-airport environment by introducing the world's top-rated IT/BT technology and new operation systems related to all immigration procedures.
The airport's shopping facility, branded "Airstar"has changed the conventional airport shopping standards and concept by offering a perfectly harmonious combination of top-rated goods, facilities and services. Passengers can now enjoy free time shopping and such diverse amenities as high-quality lounges in the passenger terminal and boarding areas. They are sure to be mesmerized by a fantastic festival changing with the season with such things as diverse exhibitions and performances offering a taste of traditional Korean and foreign cultures.
IIA is striving to take the lead in introducing a new paradigm as the 21st century's futuristic airport, topping its rivals in all regards.
To this end, the airport is working on Vision 2010, a scheme jointly developed by the aviation industry, academic and research circles with the goal of transforming the airport into one of the world's top five airports by 2010. It has also established the grandiose future master plan, codenamed "Dream 2030"calling for evolving into a full-fledged world-class mega-hub port. The plan calls for, among other things, a continuously expanding infrastructure and building strong software power to take the lead in providing services equivalent to world-class airports; creating a value-added logistics cluster to cover Gaeseong, North Korea and China's three northern provinces with the goal of evolving into the so-called Pan-West Sea Logistics Sphere; and stepping up its competitiveness by exploring cargo routes to hub ports of the emerging markets and attracting multinational logistics firms. nw

An aerial view of the sprawling Incheon International Airport.

(above) Incheon International Airport's duty-free shops and passenger terminal.

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