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Incheon airport to beef up service, attract more passengers

All Headlines 15:07 March 14, 2016

INCHEON, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Incheon International Airport, South Korea's main gateway, is planning to beef up service with the aim of becoming a Northeast Asian transportation hub by 2020, the airport authority said Monday.

It said the aim is to attract more than 66 million passengers per year, with some 10 million to be transfer passengers, the Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) said in a press release.

By opening a recreational complex near the airport, located west of Seoul, IIAC hopes to increase the number of transit passengers who stay less than 72 hours to some 550,000, from the current 110,000 people.

The leisure complex, slated to open in April 2017, will include a hotel, convention center and casino. Discussion is underway to build another resort complex near the area, according to the airport.

The airport said it will expand the number of airlines in operation from 90 in 2015 to 110 by 2020. The number of routes to be served by the airport will also increase from 186 to 210 during this period.

Other measures include operating around-the-clock duty-free shops and restaurants in the airport as well as cutting the time on the departure process to some 40 minutes, according to the airport.

To secure its status as the region's transportation hub, the airport said it is pushing for the liberalization of aviation policy between China.

"In order to carry out the competition bolstering plan, I will take the lead in reshuffling the corporation by the end of this month and work with other organizations, including the government," IIAC's chief Chung Il-young said in a press briefing.

Regarding the recent series of airport-related security problems that caused alarm bells to go off, Chung said the airport will strengthen measures to prevent any further illegal entry into the country.

In January, two Chinese nationals snuck into the country without being noticed by immigration officials or picked up by the airport's security systems. Later in the same month, a Vietnamese transfer passenger forced his way through the gate of an unmanned automatic immigration checkpoint without being noticed.

All the people that entered South Korea illegally were later arrested in the country.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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