‘Like the descent of a phoenix’…Incheon Airport Terminal 2 reopens after 6 years

Six years after the first shovel was laid, the outline of Incheon Airport’s Terminal 2, which will usher in the era of 100 million passengers a year메이저사이트, has been revealed. Designed in the shape of a descending phoenix, Terminal 2 is expected to become the best airport in the world, not only in Northeast Asia but also in the world during the pandemic.

Incheon International Airport Corporation announced on May 6 that the construction rate of Incheon Airport Phase 4, which began construction in 2017, was 73 percent as of the end of May, meaning that the airport is on track to open next October. Incheon Airport Phase 4 is the largest single infrastructure project in Korea, spending 4.8405 trillion won to expand Terminal 2, build a new 3750-meter fourth runway, and expand moorings and connecting transportation networks.

Airport construction projects take a long time, and if they are not expanded in a timely manner, passengers will leave for neighboring airports. It takes a lot of time and money to regain a competitive edge. For this reason, Incheon Airport Authority has not stopped construction work despite operating at a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exterior of Incheon Airport Terminal 2, shaped like a phoenix feather, has been completed after six years.|Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corporation

The centerpiece of Phase 4 is the expansion of Terminal 2, which opened in 2018 on the north side of Incheon International Airport. It will cost 2.4 trillion won to expand both sides of the phoenix’s long tail to create a mooring for 62 aircraft and serve 29 million passengers.

When the expansion is complete, Incheon International Airport will serve 160 million passengers a year, including 54 million in Terminal 1 and 52 million in Terminal 2. This will make it the world’s first airport to have two passenger terminals serving more than 50 million passengers and the third largest airport in the world.

Terminal 2 will be high-tech. Boarding procedures will be shortened based on biometrics, and next-generation CT X-rays and circular screening equipment will be introduced, allowing passengers to pass through security checkpoints with 3D screening without having to remove electronics or liquids.

Aerial view of Incheon International Airport Terminal 2.|Provided by Incheon International Airport Corporation

The terminal’s closed-circuit (CC) TVs are equipped with artificial intelligence technology to automatically search for missing passengers. Boarding bridges are the first in the world to be equipped with a remote access system, and flight information displays (FIDS), which guide aircraft takeoffs and landings, can now display images of aircraft locations instead of just text.

Incheon Airport, which handles 77.6 percent of international passengers (91 million in 2019), experienced a sharp drop in passenger traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is now averaging 140,000 to 150,000 passengers a day. This year, it is expected to recover to 49-53 million passengers per year, which is 70% of 2019’s level. By 2024, the number of passengers is expected to reach 71 million, and by 2026, the airport will exceed its annual capacity of 77 million.

According to Incheon Airport Authority’s forecast for future air traffic, the number of passengers will be 75.3 million in 2025, 106.1 million in 2032, 110.91 million in 2033, 115.47 million in 2035, 126.99 million in 2040, and 139.47 million in 2045.

Competition is intensifying as airports around Incheon Airport are also embarking on large-scale development to compete for the global airport market. Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok is planning to expand to 120 million passengers in 2024, China’s Guangzhou to 120 million in 2030, and Singapore’s Changi to 135 million in 2030.

Infrastructure development plan for competing airports around Incheon Airport.|Provided by Incheon International Airport Corporation

Following the fourth phase, Incheon International Airport is conducting a master plan review for the fifth phase, which includes a 3400-meter runway and a third passenger terminal with a capacity of 30 million passengers near Shinbuldo, with an investment of more than 5 trillion won.  Incheon International Airport Corporation plans to start construction of the fifth phase by the end of next year if the project is reflected in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport’s ‘Incheon Airport Development Master Plan,’ and to complete it by 2027 through the master plan and 2033.

“We will do our best to secure the competitiveness of the hub airport so that Incheon International Airport, the gateway to Korea, can stand shoulder to shoulder with global airports with the smooth implementation of the fourth phase of the construction project,” said Joo Gyeon, head of the construction division of Incheon International Airport Corporation.

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