South Korea Advances Plans for State-of-the-Art International Airport on Gadeok Island

The groundbreaking ceremony will be slated for December 2024, with the official launch scheduled for December 2029.

Maru Kim
Maru Kim

SEOUL – The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MLIT) of South Korea, under the leadership of the Yoon Suk Yeol government, announced its accelerated progress on the ambitious project for the construction of Gadeok Island’s new international airport. The foundational plan for the project, already under consultation with related agencies, is set to be finalized and officially announced by the end of this year.

Following the airport’s developmental roadmap revealed by the MLIT in March, the plan was formulated with several strategic consultations and a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

Features of the New Airport:

  • The Gadeok Island Airport is envisioned as a 24-hour operational international hub.
  • The airport, set for launch in December 2029, will be equipped with runways, passenger and cargo terminals, connectivity infrastructure including roads and railways, and areas designated for future commercial and logistics facilities.
  • To oversee the airport construction, a proposal for the establishment of a new construction corporation, the ‘Gadeok Island Airport Construction Foundation’, is being considered as an optimal solution.

The proposal, known as the ‘Gadeok Island Airport Construction Foundation Bill’, is currently under review in the National Assembly, led by lawmaker Lee Heon-seung since January 2023.

Jeonng Yong-sik, Director General for Aviation Policy of MOLIT, remarked, “After the foundational plan announcement later this year, we’ll quickly commence land development and other processes. We aim to collaborate seamlessly with other ministries to expedite administrative procedures.” He further added that the Gadeok Island Airport will significantly bolster the economic vitality of the Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongsangnam-do regions, especially when linked with Busan’s new international maritime network.

Strategic Directives of the Gadeok Island Airport:

  • A ‘Quadro-Port’ establishment for seamless logistics and passenger transport operations.
  • Integration with Busan’s new port for the invigoration of airport economic zones.
  • Implementation of cutting-edge technologies, including Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Digital Twins, for safer and smarter airport construction and operations.
  • An eco-friendly approach that respects Gadeok Island’s marine ecosystem, promoting low-carbon and environmentally sustainable airport construction.

Location & Capacity: Situated in the Gangseo District of Busan, the new airport will sprawl across an area of approximately 6.669 million square meters.

Project Timeline:

  • The groundbreaking ceremony will be slated for December 2024, with the official launch scheduled for December 2029.
  • Other infrastructural enhancements and developmental projects in the vicinity will continue till 2030.

Stakeholders in the Project:

  • MLIT will oversee the overall development.
  • The proposed Gadeok Island Airport Construction Foundation will manage airport-specific developments.
  • Busan’s Land Management Office will oversee road developments, and the National Railroad Foundation will be in charge of railway constructions.

Operational Plan:

  • The airport will primarily focus on international routes.
  • Detailed operational strategies will be solidified approximately 2-3 years before the airport’s launch.

Environmental Commitments: The MLIT is keen on respecting and adhering to strategic environmental impact evaluations and airport environmental management standards. They aim to minimize environmental disruptions and have proposed measures such as the adoption of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), the reduction of carbon emissions, the introduction of electric and hydrogen ground operational vehicles, and the promotion of renewable energy sources.

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