Airport Industry Technology Research Institute, Incheon Airport’s Think Tank

Can you believe that there is a place that calls the airport its #1 research subject?

As the airport industry has a great effect on a country’s economy, its scale and scope are quite extensive. There is a place that systematically researches this important industry, prepares for the future of the airport industry, and is working hard today to highlight the value of Incheon Airport. This place is the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute under Incheon Airport.

The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute is an airport-specialized research institute that started out as a research department in Incheon Airport in 2010 and was promoted to a corporate research institute in 2015.

It not only researches key technologies, which are the foundation of the future airport industry, but also considers how to operate the airport safely, conveniently, and efficiently through research on business policy.

What does the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute do?

To proactively respond to the future changes in the airport industry, the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute performs research in four areas. They include (1) research on business policy, (2) research and development of airport technologies, (3) airport statistical analysis and prediction, and (4) co-research and support with small- and medium-sized enterprises.

In research on business policy, the research institute is exploring the direction of mid- to long-term responses that Incheon Airport should take during the 4th Industrial Revolution and suggesting airport policies or new services. To do so, it is heavily investing in the field of airport statistical analysis. For instance, it manages and develops AI-based algorithms that predict heavy traffic during travel season or bad weather using big data.

Furthermore, the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute is also conducting research to localize key airport technologies. The research institute is committed to localizing foreign technologies through joint research with governmental agencies and small- and medium-sized enterprises. During this process, it produces national benefits and creates social value, promoting shared growth with small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute has even done this!

From specific airport operations to the airport industry in general, the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute conducts professional research that spans in many directions. Let me show you the results of research that the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute has procured so far!

1. Taking the lead in enhancing national benefits by localizing aircraft technologies!

(1) Pre-Conditioned Air System (PC-AIR)

PC-AIR is a system that provides conditioned air to aircrafts parked on the apron. It is a key system that provides cooling when it is hot and heating when it is cold. The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute has localized 80% of PC-AIR technologies. Through this localization, it has saved us KRW 12.8 billion compared to foreign competitor technologies and helped us to create a low-carbon emissions system for green growth.

(2) Aircraft-Ground Power Supply (AC-GPS)

All power used in aircrafts, such as indoor lighting and air-conditioning, is gained from the generator connected to the engine. While it does not matter very much when aircraft is in operation, its engine stops when the aircraft is on the ground, meaning that it requires use of a large battery or an external supply. Aircraft-Ground Power Supply (AC-GPS) is what it needs in this situation. The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute developed Korea’s own original AC-GPS, introducing KRW 15.5 billion worth of AC-GPS to Incheon Airport, and is preparing to enter the global market.

(3) Baggage Handling System (BHS)

In addition, the research institute successfully localized key parts for Baggage Handling System (BHS) and killed two birds with one stone by improving convenience for airport passengers and obtaining technological competitiveness to advance into the global airport industry. These parts are receiving the spotlight as the core of not just airports but also industrial sites including logistical and transport systems.

2. Bring out added value in the airport!

(1) Research to introduce duty-free shops in the Arrival Hall

When there were no duty-free stores in the Arrival Hall of Incheon Airport, did you carry around gifts you bought in duty-free stores in the city or Departure Hall throughout your whole trip? Now, duty-free stores are being opened in the Arrival Hall, removing such inconvenience.

The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute’s policy research was extremely helpful when duty-free stores were introduced in the Arrival Hall in 2019. At a time when the country recorded a KRW 15 trillion deficit in the tourism industry and capital outflow due to overseas duty-free purchases, the research institute conducted a comprehensive review on duty-free store demand in the Arrival Hall, as well as their ripple effects, locations, and traffic. By introducing duty-free stores in the Arrival Hall, Incheon Airport was able to create KRW 107.9 billion in added value and 2,663 jobs.

(2) Research for ground handling quality system

With research on the ground handling quality system, the research institute also presented improvements to strengthen the capabilities of Incheon Airport.

This research was adopted in the 3rd Aviation Policy Master Plan by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Furthermore, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Airports Council International (ACI) are also reviewing to introduce it as an international standard. So, you can expect more achievements in the airport industry from the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute.

In this post, we looked at the story of the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute, which is working hard to make progress in the airport industry including Incheon Airport. Behind Incheon Airport’s appeal, which excites all travelers, lies the hidden efforts of the Airport Industry Technology Research Institute 😊

But this is not the end!

The Airport Industry Technology Research Institute not only conducts research but also issues the regular publication of the [Airport Industry Review] to inform more people about its research results. In the next post, we will tell you more about this publication, which includes a great number of insights that not only employees in the airport industry but also aircraft fans must take notes of!

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