Incheon International Airport Corporation


Location Selection

Why Incheon Airport was Built on Yeongjong Island

Incheon International Airport Development Background

Changes begin on Yeongjong Island in the Yellow Sea.

With the hosting of the Asian Games in 1986, Korea entered the global top 10 in international air transportation performance. In 1988 when the Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, the number of international flight passengers showed a rapid increase by 1 mil. people from the previous year.
Korea's international air transportation showed a rapid growth especially after the implementation of the overseas travel liberalization policy in 1989. The Gimpo International Airport was constantly expanded to keep with the growth, however, the expansion was not enough to meet the fast increase in passenger demand.
As a result, the Korean government decided to construct a new airport in the metropolitan area which could serve as an alternative to the Gimpo Airport.

  • Demand Increase in the 1980's

    Hosting of the Asian Games in 1986

    Hosting of the Summer Olympics in 1988

    Overseas travel liberalization policy in 1989

  • Annual Growth Rates in 1989's (From The Previous Year)

    International passengers13%

    Domestic passengers30%

    World average7%

  • Emergence of The Necessity for a New Airport

    Urbanization and growth in population of Seoul and the surrounding areas

    Limitations in expansion of the existing airport

    Airport noise pollution to residents

Yeongjong Island, a Small Island in the Yellow Sea with Naturally Advantageous Site Conditions

Yeongjong Island with Advantageous Site Conditions

In March 1989, the New Airport Construction Promotion Committee narrowed its range of options for the airport construction site to 22 areas in Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheongnam-do, then again to 7 locations including Yeongjong Island and Sihwa Districts 1 and 2 through preliminary investigations. In the final race, three locations including Yeongjong Island competed. The Sihwa Districts had a geographical disadvantage of its southern area bordering on land, which meant potential noise pollution.

Based on the results of such feasibility investigations, the committee unanimously decided on Yeongjong Island as the site for the new airport in June 14, 1990. This was the biggest construction project in the Korean history, which started a new era and opened a new gate to Northest Area.

Yeongjong Island in 1992s

  • First Group of

    22 locations including
    Yeongjong Island, Songdo, Joi Island,
    Sihwa, Songsan, Jebu Island, Namyang, Baran, Songtan,
    Icheon, Suwon, Osan, Namseo, Pyeongtaek, and Asan

  • Preliminary investigation
  • Second Group of

    7 locations: Yeongjong Island,
    Sihwa 1, Sihwa 2, Songdo,
    Songsan, Icheon, and Baran

  • Detailed investigation
  • Final

    Yeongjong Island,
    Sihwa 1, and Sihwa 2

Comparison Between Candidate Construction Sites for The New Airport

Site Factors Yeongjong Island Shihwa 1 Shihwa 2 Gimpo
Airspace Limitation - Suwon Air Force Suwon Air Force Seoul downtown area
Terrain Difficulties (horizontal surface) 5% 6% 4% 5%
Seoul Downtown (distance) 52㎞ (32.3 miles) 68㎞ (42.3 miles) 71㎞ (44.1miles) 20㎞ (12.4 miles)
Access Transportation (time taken) 50min 89min 61min 30min
Noise (residents) 200 households 2,250 households 650 households 268,000 households
※ Swipe left or right!
Yeongjong Island, an Optimal Location for an Airport

The tidal land between Yeongjong Island and Yongyu Island was reclaimed to build up the construction site for Incheon International Airport. It was evaluated as the most optimal site considering various factors such as the topography, transportation, etc. Yeongjong Island is about 52㎞ away from downtown Seoul and about 15㎞ from Incheon, which makes it the best location for an airport that can operate 24 hours a day without causing airplane noise pollution to residents.