Incheon airport operator to push ahead with $5.4 bn expansion by 2025 despite Covid woes

2021.09.23 15:16:30 | 2021.09.23 15:20:03

[Photo by Incheon International Airport Corp.]이미지 확대

[Photo by Incheon International Airport Corp.]

Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC)’s planned 6.4 trillion won ($5.4 billion) investment from this year to 2025 in preemptive readiness for post-pandemic air traffic demand will stay intact regardless of debt surge and reduced revenue from ongoing standstill in passenger travel, according to its CEO Kim Kyung-wook.

The operator of Korea’s main air gateway projects net loss of 860 billion won this year with sales 21 percent lower than the level of 2019, before the arrival of Covid-19 that has shaved passenger traffic to 10,000 from regular 200,000 per day in one of the busiest airports in Asia.

“On top of our streamlining, we are asking the government for 500 billion won worth in investment in kind and travel bubble,” Kim said in an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper. The former vice minister for land, infrastructure and transport has been heading the state entity from February.

The airport operator will continue with mid-to long-term investments despite losses.

“Although belt-tightening is necessary to weather the Covid-19 times, we must not save investment to be better ready for post-pandemic environment,” he said.

IIAC plans to spend 6.4 trillion won through 2025 for the goal to become No. 1 in the world based on air throughput unit by 2030.

The airport operator has allocated 4.8 trillion won on expanding Terminal 2 and adding a new runway.

The company plans to finance the investment through debt issue which can send its debt ratio to 75 percent by the end of the year, he said.

IIAC plans to build systems to keep the gateway virus clean by installing cleanrooms and simplifying customs procedure.

By Ji Hong-koo and Cho Jeehyun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]