[Rendering of Gadeok airport provided by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport]
The South Korean government formally cancelled the expansion project at the Gimhae International Airport on Tuesday to set the stage for a new airport project in Gadeok Island off southern port city of Busan.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport reported to the cabinet of the cancellation of the Gimhae project to replace it with Gadeok in the 2021-2025 airport development outline.
The transport ministry will begin the feasibility study for the Gadeok airport project in May and prepare the overall direction for the project by March next year. The feasibility study is to include demand estimate, airport layout, financing plan as well as possible environmental risks.
Gadeok project was killed after two previous studies, but brought back ahead of the Busan mayoral by-election in April.
The ministry has estimated the project to cost from 12.8 trillion won ($11.3 billion) to 28.6 trillion won, more than four times the budget claimed by Busan city. This means the project would require state funding of up to 4 trillion won a year for six to seven years.
Busan city reportedly aims to have the new airport ready for service by December 2029 ahead of the 2030 World Expo. The city anticipated to break ground for the new airport in 2023.
By Lee Ji-yong, Yang Yeon-ho and Cho Jeehyun
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