S Korea's Jeju island to get new airport as visitors surge

S Korea's Jeju island to get new airport as visitors surge

South Korea announced Tuesday plans to construct a US$3.5 billion (S$4.99 billion) second airport on the resort island of Jeju, to handle a spike in passengers fuelled by Chinese tourists.

The one-runway new airport will be built on the eastern part of the island, with completion scheduled for 2025 at the latest, the land and transport ministry said.

The island is currently served by Jeju International Airport, which is the country's second busiest after Seoul's Incheon airport, processing 23.2 million passengers last year - up 16 per cent from 2016.

Jeju international, located on the northern shore of Jeju, has been overwhelmed in recent years as low budget airlines have triggered a surge in passenger volume.

Jeju is particularly popular with Chinese visitors, who numbered 2.9 million last year, a jump of 58 per cent on 2013.

Unlike the rest of South Korea, Jeju is visa-free for Chinese tourists and is just a one-hour flight from Shanghai and 2.5 hours from Beijing.

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