The South Korean government confirmed its original plan to build a second airport in the eastern section of Jeju Island dedicated to serve domestic travelers by 2025 to meet the rising travel demand from both domestic and foreign visitors despite strong protests from residents.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Wednesday released its final report on a basic plan to set up a new airport in Jeju, although its planned briefing session was canceled as protestors staged a rally in front of the meeting hall. The ministry said in the report that it will redouble its efforts to minimize environmental impacts and noise during construction and put top priority on efficiency and safety.
The Korean government plans to build a new Jeju airport in Seongsan, Seogwipo.
The ministry first announced the plan in 2015 that it would build a second airport on an area of 5 million square meters in Seongsan, eastern part of Jeju, but residents and environmental activists have been strongly resisting the idea, citing possible damages to the environment and criticizing the suspicious closed-door discussions and incomplete feasibility study before determining the airport construction plan.
The ministry said it has been trying its best to fulfill their demands by conducting a thorough review on its feasibility study from June to November last year and extending operation of the review committee from last September to June this year.
The ministry estimated that Jeju Island would record 41.09 million air passengers – 37.96 million for domestic flights and 3.13 million for international flights, and the number of flight operations would reach 257,000 in 2055. The new airport will handle about 50 percent of the demand for domestic routes, it said.
Jeju Island is Korea’s largest and most popular resort island.
By Choi Hee-seok and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]