Seoul Incheon Global Hub Gets Strengthened with Korean Air (PART 1)

The recent opening of the Terminal 2 at Seoul Incheon International Airport in Korea not only provide outstanding service and facility to passengers, it is also helping Korean Air and its partners to strengthen the hub position of the airport in all of Asia. In a second part, ASEAN.travel will look at services offered out of Terminal 2. 

Interview with Kim Do Hyung, Korean Air spokesman at the department of communication highlights the recent development

What has been the investment  of the terminal 2? What will be the future amount of investment for the expansion?

Kim Do Hyung- From 2009 to 2017, KRW4.9 trillion (US$4.9 billion) were invested to build the current terminal 2. From 2017 to 2023, the airport’s authority is planning to invest another US$4.18 billion , to complete the terminal 2, brining the total investment for the new terninal to US$9.1 billion.

Today the Terminal 2 has a total capacity of 18 million passengers. Once fully completed in 2023, the terminal will be able to accommodate 28 million passengers per annum and will also offer more flights capacity with a fourth runway. With both Terminal 1 and 2, Incheon Airport is currently capable of handling 72 million passengers and 5 million tons of cargo annually.

Was Korean Air involved into the layout of the terminal 2 with the airport authorities? Was the terminal design modified to accommodate Korean Air requests ?

K.D.H.- Based on accumulated airport operating and passenger service experience, Korean Air has fully participated in the construction of T2, from design and planning, bringing their expertise in airport operation. For example, we helped creating an easy and quick procedure for luggage check-in which also helps staff to track live the luggage. It an undesired object such as a phone power bank is detected inside a luggage, we provide luggage security stations on the airside of the airport. Agents then check with passengers the undesired items and remove them from the luggage.  We also worked with the airport authority to work at offering the shortest possible connecting time. We can connect passengers at the terminal in just 45 minutes.

Incheon airport birdview. Terminal 2 is located on top of the picture. 

How many destinations are served currently out of Incheon by Korean and its partners of Skyteam? 

K.D.H.- Korean Air has international direct routes to 98 cities in 36 countries (passenger flights only). Among 20 members of SkyTeam alliance, 12 carriers are operating direct flight to Incheon from 32 destinations.

From Southeast Asia, Garuda Indonesia and Vietnam Airlines are our partners. The first one links Incheon out of Jakarta and Bali while the second links Incheon to Danang, Hanoi, Ho Chi  Minh City and Nha Trang. Seoul-Bangkok is one of our top routes. It is number 2 in seats capacity and number 1 in passengers number.

Among our top 12 routes, five are in Southeast Asia in terms of seats capacity. Beside Bangkok, it includes Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Hanoi. In passengers traffic, beside Bangkok, top routes for us include Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila. Over 15% of all passengers traffic at Incheon goes or comes from Southeast Asia.

How many connecting waves out of Incheon per day? What is the market share of the transfer passengers? Which are the top transfer connections for Korean Air?

K.D.H.- The number of passengers transferring at Incheon Airport reached on average 19,000 per day in the first half of 2018. Among those numbers, approximately 5,000 passengers are registered on Korean Air only. Meanwhile, our top transfer connection is between Incheon and Manila, Philippines, which takes 6.5% approximately in Korean Air’s direct routes in passengers service.  The airport provides incentive to airlines to fly new destinations to boost the share of transfer passengers.

Our joint venture signed last May with Delta Airlines is an opportunity to make Incheon T2 even more efficient. For connection between Asia and the U.S, we are focusing on the Joint Venture and it will attract more transit passengers in Incheon Airport. We recently expanded codeshare flight with Delta enabling us to connect 370 routes in 192 cities including more than 80 Asian cities. Delta is now code-sharing with us on 36 flights in Korean Airs Asian network. The USA is the largest non-Asian passengers’ market out of Incheon International Airport. 

Is Korean Air planning any new routes?

K.D.H.- We will launch a new service to Zagreb this coming September, becoming the only carrier offering a direct service from Asia to Croatia capital city. In 2019, we already announced two new routes to the United States with our partner Delta Air Lines. We will fly from April five times a week to Boston while Delta Air Lines will operate the daily route between Seoul and Minneapolis. We are considering to add more Asian destination next year but it is too early to announce.