The Korea Herald

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Korea Airports Corp. to expand airports as key business hubs

KAC sets sight on 90 million passengers next year, aims for W1tr in revenue

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Dec. 22, 2023 - 08:12

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Korea Airports Corp. President Yoon Hyeong-jung (fourth from right) speaks during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. (KAC) Korea Airports Corp. President Yoon Hyeong-jung (fourth from right) speaks during a press conference at the company's headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. (KAC)

The Korea Airports Corp. said Thursday it aims at reversing into the black next year by attracting 90 million passengers and logging 1 trillion won ($766.7 million) in revenue.

Seven airports across the nation, including Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Cheongju, Daegu, Muan and Yangyang, are anticipated to surpass their pre-pandemic records in number of passengers by next year, riding the wave of increasing demand for inbound tourism.

With the anticipated full recovery of international passengers in 2024, the corporation aims to put an end to its four consecutive loss-making years since 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on the industry.

"We will secure dedicated travel services for business passengers, aspiring to become a Biz+ airport by 2030," KAC President Yoon Hyeong-jung said during a press conference at the company’s headquarters in Seoul, Thursday.

"To realize this vision, we plan on swiftly implementing initiatives such as fast-track services, premium lounges, multipurpose shared offices and premium airport memberships by the first half of 2024, contributing to the country's business competitiveness."

The fast-track service, in particular, would provide seamless one-stop services through dedicated business passenger gates and security checks that the KAC hopes would entice both domestic and international business travelers.

In response to the burgeoning needs of K-culture and K-pop enthusiasts visiting Korea, the KAC is strategically devising plans to accommodate fans, offering areas for relaxation, leisure and quick fan meetings within the airport.

Expanding its global connectivity, the KAC is set to enhance and promote air routes that connect from Seoul to Osaka and Shanghai.

Additionally, the corporation aims to strengthen its position as a base airport in the southeastern region by advocating for the establishment of long-distance routes, including Warsaw and Los Angeles, particularly at Gimhae Airport.

Concurrently, the corporation is committed to green-growth initiatives. The initiatives involve the installation of solar energy panels in airport parking lots to function as an energy source for both air conditioning and heating. Additionally, the number of EV charging stations will be expanded to facilitate the charging of electric vehicles used for airport cargo operations.

As of November, the recovery rate of international passengers at the seven airports operated by the corporation stands at an encouraging 87 percent, compared to the same month in 2019.

The corporation is committed to making comprehensive efforts to reach a total of 90 million passengers next year, surpassing the 86.66 million passengers recorded in 2019.