Incheon International Airport on Thursday started construction on its second passenger terminal, which aims especially to meet a possible surge in international travelers ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
The 4.9 trillion won (S$5.7 billion) expansion plan, the third of the airport's three-phase construction project, includes building a passenger terminal, new railways and roads and a second traffic centre by 2017.
"Incheon Airport has become a northeast Asian hub that contributes to the national economy," said Prime Minister Chung Hong-won during the groundbreaking ceremony on the day. "The new construction project will create some 93,000 jobs and 17 trillion won in economic benefits."
Since the opening in 2001, the airport has seen an annual 6 per cent growth in user numbers. As its key facilities are expected to reach their saturation point by 2017, the airport predicted the expansion work would help its readiness for a surge in international visitors, especially ahead of the Winter Olympics held in February 2018 in the mountainous areas of Gangwon Province.
When construction is completed by the end of 2017 as planned, officials said that the airport's yearly capacity will increase from the current 44 million passengers to 62 million, and cargo from 4.5 million tons to 5.8 million tons.