Gimhae International Airport.
The South Korean government will expand the Gimhae International Airport in the southern port city of Busan as planned and will not consider a new option, including building a new airport in nearby Gadeok Island, officials of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said.
“Gimhae Airport was chosen after a study by the government. We have no plan of altering the project of improving the gateway in the southern coast,” a ministry official told reporters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
He was addressing a renewed controversy over the choice of bolstering the air gateway to meet increasing demand after Oh Geo-don, the new Busan Mayor who won the June 13 election as a ruling party candidate, argued a new airport in Gadeok Island is a better option over expanding Gimhae Airport.
Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mi earlier in the week also denied the speculation about a revisit to the decision made in 2016 after a heated contest between candidate sites.
The transport ministry in 2016 opted to expand the existing Gimhae International Airport to meet the growing air flight demand in the southeastern part of the country after conducting a feasibility study.
Under the plan, a 3,200-kilometer runway and a passenger terminal will be added on a 290-square-kilometer land next to Gimhae Airport to meet capacity of 38 million users. Construction estimated at $5.4 billion will be completed by 2026.
The government settled for a third option due to a fiery rivalry between the candidate sites of Gadeok Island in Busan and Milryang in the upper part of South Gyeongsang Province.
By Yeon Gyu-wook and Cho Jeehyun
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