3 Best Overseas Projects by Incheon Airport, a Mentor for International Airports

What meaning does “overseas business of Incheon Airport” carry?

While overseas business serves as an opportunity to demonstrate Incheon Airport’s outstanding competitiveness to the world, it is also gaining attention as one of the businesses that can produce a huge synergistic effect on the country’s economy. Once a project is successfully awarded, we can export packages of construction companies, quality assurance inspectors, telecommunications and electronic equipment, baggage handling, and operational staff for airport construction.

Incheon Airport has performed 29 overseas projects in 14 countries around the world. This post introduces 3 of these major projects!

1) First Step in Overseas Business: Consulting for Erbil International Airport, Iraq (2009)

It was in February 2009 that Incheon Airport’s 20 years of “knowhow” related to construction and 10 years of “knowhow” related to operation was exported for the first time to Erbil, a city in North Iraq. Erbil is also the region where the Republic of Korea Army’s Zaytun Division was stationed.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) constructed Erbil International Airport to respond to increasing demand for flights after the Iraq War, promote reconstruction projects in Iraq, and nurture it as a hub airport in the Middle East. With its opening in May 2009 approaching, Iraq requested consulting on airport operation from Incheon International Airport Corporation.

Incheon International Airport Corporation sent 31 experts from 6 fields, such as information and communications, mechanical equipment, air navigation facilities, and operation and management, over the course of 5 years to pass down Incheon Airport’s unique operation expertise, helping Erbil International Airport open successfully and operate stably.

The experience with Erbil International Airport, for which Incheon Airport generated USD 31.59 million (44 billion won) through consulting alone, was valuable as it informed the Middle East and the rest of the world of Incheon Airport’s extraordinary technology and operation expertise and served as a steppingstone to later receiving the second project in the Middle East, Duhok International Airport in Iraq.

2) The World’s Largest Airport Development Project: Consulting for the Operation of Istanbul Airport (2015)

The “Operation Consulting for Istanbul Airport” project that we received in 2015 was the world’s largest airport development project, which involved constructing a new airport near the Black Sea north of Istanbul to replace fully saturated Istanbul Ataturk Airport, cost KRW 28 trillion, and created an annual passenger capacity of 200 million people. Operation consulting alone reached KRW 129 million.

It grabbed everyone’s attention as it involved participation by many global airports such as Singapore Changi Airport and Munich International Airport. After a fierce competition, Incheon Airport, which earned many points for its experience relocating an international airport (Gimpo → Incheon), was selected as the final consulting firm!

Incheon International Airport Corporation, which received the project in June 2015, has been passing down the advanced operation techniques of Incheon Airport to Istanbul Airport over the course of 65 months. The project is still ongoing and will continue until October 2020. Incheon International Airport Corporation is serving as a “mentor” for Istanbul Airport for the whole process, from operation strategies before opening, organization and training plans, as well as airport operation and development of commercial facilities after opening!

3) Operate a Non-Korean Airport! Commissioned Operation of Kuwait International Airport T4 (2018)

While most of the above overseas business came from consulting, April 2018 marked a turning point. Incheon International Airport Corporation received a project for Kuwait International Airport T4 Commissioned Operation worth USD 127.6 million (KRW 136.5 billion).

Kuwait International Airport is a leading airport in the Middle East, owned 100% by the Kuwait government and capable of handling 12 million passengers annually. Incheon International Airport Corporation performed the pilot operation of Kuwait International Airport’s Terminal 4 for 3 months, and then was put in charge of operation and maintenance until 2023.

For this project, Incheon International Airport Corporation beat France’s ADP, which operates Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport; Germany’s Fraport, which operates Frankfurt Airport; Turkey’s TAV, which operates Istanbul Airport; and Ireland’s DAA to be selected as the final operator of the project. Incheon International Airport Corporation was the first foreign operator to operate any airport in Kuwait. Incheon Airport was highly evaluated for opening Terminal 2 successfully in 2018!

There were some difficulties when Incheon International Airport Corporation sent 30 experts from different fields to the country to prepare for the project. Just one month before the terminal’s opening, it rained 100 mm for 24 hours. Roads connected to the terminal were lost, and major facilities such as the apron, taxiway, and jet bridge were flooded, causing a halt in the operation of Kuwait International Airport. In just 1 week, however, we were able to successfully normalize the airport’s operation, proving Incheon Airport’s outstanding operation capabilities.

We can take pride in the fact that Incheon Airport, which opened in 2001 and started as a late-bloomer, has stood tall as “a mentor for international airports” beyond Korea’s gateway. Though Incheon Airport has systematically accumulated knowledge on everything from A to Z to provide the best airport service, this is all possible thanks to the people who have supported Incheon Airport.

We can look forward to Incheon Airport’s remarkable progress as it plans to expand its overseas business across the world including Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia based on a variety of experiences performing projects in airport construction, operation, and investments.

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