S. Korea propels new airport project in Busan for Dec. 2029 opening

2023.12.29 14:09:02 | 2023.12.29 15:32:41

A bird’s-eye view of Gadeokdo New Airport [Courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport]이미지 확대

A bird’s-eye view of Gadeokdo New Airport [Courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport]

The South Korean government has put the construction of Gadeokdo New Airport on track with an aim of opening the service in December 2029. A total of 13.49 trillion won ($10.5 billion) will be invested in the construction of the airport, which will have a 3,500-meter runway for large cargo planes and will operate round the clock, even during late-night hours.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said on Thursday that it will unveil the basic construction project plan, encompassing these details on Friday.

Situated on a 6.67 million square meter area in the Gadeokdo area of Gangseo-gu, Busan, the airport aims to become a 24-hour global logistics hub, focusing primarily on international operations. Detailed operational plans will be finalized 2 to 3 years before its official opening. In Korea, international passenger demand is expected to reach 23.26 million in 2065, with cargo demand at 335,000 tons.

To accommodate large cargo planes like the B747-400F, the airport will have a 3,500-meter runway, along with a passenger terminal capable of handling 17.03 million passengers annually. Additionally, plans include the construction of a 17,200 square meter cargo terminal and the development of land for cargo-related facilities. Provisions have also been made for expansion sites to cater to potential future increases in cargo demand.

The ministry aims to develop a specialized area for aviation logistics, combining air logistics with maritime transport, by setting aside about 180 football-field-sized support facility sites. This development will be integrated with Busan Newport International Terminal, transforming it into a logistics-centered airport.

Given that this will be the first airport constructed offshore in South Korea, measures will be taken to withstand potential damages caused by typhoons, including the creation of a revetment capable of withstanding sea waves for a hundred years.

Furthermore, plans include the installation of precision instrument approach systems (Cat-Ⅲ) that provide crucial information such as runway centerline, landing angles, and distances from aircraft to the runway. These systems will ensure the safe landing of aircraft.

Plans also encompass the construction of access roads connecting Gadeok Bridge to the new airport and a dedicated airport railway linked with Busan New Port Railway. Efforts to enable maritime transportation will also involve the installation of a coastal passenger terminal. Additionally, the plan includes a vertiport facility for urban air mobility. While the government has allocated 13.49 trillion won for the airport’s construction, expenses for the nearby area’s road and railway projects connecting the new airport are yet to be finalized.

By Hong Hae-jin and Minu Kim

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