“Information on Incheon Airport’s History and Views, at a Glance!” Observatory Deck & History Hall

How do you usually spend your time in the airport?

You probably spend a lot of time being bored when you are waiting to board the plane. We would like to recommend some interesting attractions for those who “don’t want to waste this time!” or “want to spend this time more productively!”

This is the place where you can learn about Incheon Airport’s history and the story behind how it became the world’s best airport! Have you ever heard of “Attractions in Terminal 2, which also include entertainment such as VR experiences and chroma key photography?

Anyone who has looked around the airport a bit can answer this question with ease. These attractions are the Observatory Deck and History Hall. They offer various things to see and experience as great places where families with young children can spend time together! Admission comes free and so do the experiences, so why not check these places out? Let’s take a closer look at these places, shall we?

What is the Observatory Deck & History Hall?

The Observatory Deck is a state-of-the-art smart space where visitors can see a variety of exhibitions about Incheon Airport’s construction, opening, operation, and history. Its special advantage is that you can enjoy the various experience facilities while looking at the apron and airplanes at the airport!

Commemorating the 19th anniversary of its opening, the History Hall, where visitors can get a summary of Incheon Airport’s history at a glance, was recently created in the same place as the Observatory Deck. You can see how the airport started out on a small island called Yeongjongdo Island, Incheon to become a world-class airport today.

Both places are open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. throughout the year, so visitors can have a look around comfortably.

*However, please note that it is shut down until June 14 due to COVID-19. Contact 032-741-0015~6 for more information about its hours of operation.

How can I get to Observatory Deck & History Hall?

The Observatory Deck is located in the center of the Public Area on 5F, Terminal 2. While you go upstairs to get to Observatory Deck, you will see a structure of seagulls flapping their wings. If you follow their beautifully flapping wings to get to the 5th floor by escalator or elevator, the first thing that comes into site is Bridge Space, as seen below.

This is where you can feel Incheon Airport’s unique atmosphere. Lights decorating the floor and the ceiling create a visualization of airplanes taking off from the runway.

There are also many stories on the left and right of the hallway that you shouldn’t miss. On the left, there are paintings portraying scenes of the construction site. On the right, various stories about the construction of Incheon Airport are displayed in a variety of colors. The long hallway may feel much shorter as you walk along while learning about the history of Incheon Airport’s construction. When you turn left at the end of the hallway, you can find the Observatory Deck & History Hall!

Observatory Deck & History Hall by Section

As you can see in the photos above, the Observatory Deck & History Hall are divided into four sections. You can go to the place you want to see first, or you can just check out a few of the spaces if you don’t have enough time!

(1) Global Standard ICN

The first thing you will see is the Global Standard ICN to the left of the entrance. Here, you can see Incheon Airport’s history and status at a glance.

It is quite fun to see how Incheon Airport has grown from a small island in the West Sea into a world-class airport from 1990 to 2020.

You can check out graphics and images to see the global standing of Incheon Airport that has grown rapidly from connecting 117 cities in 34 countries in 2001 into a hub of Northeast Asia connecting 194 cities in 57 countries!

(2) Moments of Passion and Challenge

In Moments of Passion and Challenge, visitors can see various stories about what make today’s Incheon Airport possible.

As it ranked #1 in the Airport Service Quality Awards, Incheon Airport has been recognized by many international agencies as the best in the world for the last two decades. You can see all of its proud achievements in this one space.

The first step is important for everything. That is why a special place is prepared for the first CEO, Kang Dong-seok, who successfully led Incheon Airport’s beginning. We guess the strong foundation of today’s Incheon Airport may have sprouted from his saying, “You can only know the best if you experience the best.”

Did our ancestors foresee that Yeongjongdo Island would become Korea’s largest airport gateway in the future? There is an interesting story about how the name of Yeongjongdo Island, on which Incheon Airport is located, can be interpreted as being the natural space for an international airport.

You can also check out Incheon Airport’s CI symbol mark, which is decorated splendidly in the center of this exhibition space. The symbol mark represents Incheon Airport as the 21st century state-of-the-art airport hub that reaches areas around the world in the midst of humanity, logistics, and information with the combined images of birds, traditional Korean clouds, and Taegeuk.

Incheon Airport is like a small city. As many as 70,000 employees work here. From employees of airlines to those of various commercial stores, firefighters for passenger safety, and security! You can find illustrations portraying various employees working here.

(3) Take-off for Tomorrow

Incheon Airport is evolving every day! What does the future hold for the airport? “Take-off for Tomorrow” is a place where you can find some hints for the answer to this question.

In this section decorated with airplane models, visitors can see a video of Incheon Airport’s future blueprint for the airport industry from *Phase 4 Construction Project to the **Airport Economic Zone. You can also participate in a cockpit experience here. It is a very popular space among children.


*Incheon Airport Phase 4 Construction Project: Project that expands Terminal 2, constructs Runway 4, and expands the apron from 2017 to 2024 to meet growing demands at the airport

**Airport Economic Zone: Large-scale economic zone where many industries related to the airport are integrated and combined


(4) JOY ICN

Joy ICN is a place designed so that anyone can easily have fun.

The VR Experience Zone is always particularly popular. With 360 VR, you can have a vivid experience of Incheon Airport’s Baggage Handling System! When you sit in the chair and put on VR glasses, you can become a piece of baggage and experience how baggage is loaded onto the aircraft.

You also shouldn’t miss the Time Slice Photo Zone. Here, visitors can take a dynamic photo instantly captured by 15 cameras! You can choose the background you want, and it also sends a video link to your email. Doesn’t it sound like you can make great memories here? The more people you are with, the more unique the photo is. So, don’t hesitate to take a photo together with your friends and families!


These are spaces where those who often visit Terminal 2 can have some light fun!

Today, we have looked at the two attractions of the Observatory Deck and History Hall in Terminal 2 of Incheon Airport.

Come make some new memories here at these attractions that turn waiting at the airport into joy!

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!

Hi-Pass for Incheon Airport? – Smart Entry Service (SES)

While the excitement of travel may make long waits tolerable,
reducing passengers’ waiting time is sure to alleviate travel fatigue.

Incheon Airport has various smart facilities, such as Self Check-In and Self Bag Drop services, to dramatically reduce boarding time and save passengers’ valuable time.

 

Today, we will tell you a way to get immigration clearance as quickly as Hi-pass on highways.

Clearance in just 12 seconds?

Usually, immigration clearance requires a face-to-face screening with the immigration officer. The officer checks your face and passport before you get cleared. This is called manned immigration.

There are four steps involved: first, wait in line in front of the immigration desk; second, take off your hat/sunglasses (no phone calls allowed while waiting); third, hand your passport over to the immigration officer; and fourth, receive your passport upon check and walk out through the gate.

However, automated immigration can replace face-to-face screenings! Automated immigration is an automated screening system which allows passengers to easily and conveniently complete the immigration process. It is also referred to as Smart Entry Service (SES), and it allows you to get immigration clearance without having to check with the officer face-to-face. Passengers can use this service by registering their passport and biometrics, including fingerprints and facial data.

What’s impressive is that you can complete immigration clearance in just 12 seconds! It has already been used by a hundred million passengers, and more than 50% of Koreans departing from and arriving to Korea have used it. Convenient? The numbers speak for themselves.

Who can use SES?

Let’s see who are eligible to use SES. Firstly, any Korean national aged 7 or older are eligible to use it.

Korean nationals aged 19 or older can use SES immediately without registering in advance. However, Korean nationals between the ages of 7 to 18 must register their passport and biometrics in advance, submit a family proof document and be accompanied by their parents.

If you are too young and must register, please visit the Registration Center. As for the location, you can find it in Terminal 1 across Check-in Counter H on the third floor near Departure Area 4. If you need further information, you can call +82-32-740-7400 for guidance. If you’re in Terminal 2, you can register at the Immigration Service Center at One-Stop Public Service (Ministry of Justice) on the second floor, or call +82-32-740-7367.

“Can my foreigner friend use it as well?”

Yes, of course. Foreigners can use SES, too. Registered foreigners (residence in Korea) aged 17 or older can use it without prior registration. Foreigner tourists aged 17 or older can also use it without prior registration if they have already provided their biometrics (facial and fingerprint data) when entering Korea.

① Place the page of your passport containing your personal information on the scanner.

② Enter when doors open.

③ Scan your registered fingerprint.

④ Look at the camera for facial recognition.

⑤ Walk out when the doors open.

You can use SES abroad!

SES can be used in five other countries: US, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Germany. If you use this service, you do not need to wait in line to get immigration clearance in the aforementioned countries. You can get immigration clearance easily and quickly through SES!

If you want to use SES in other countries, you should register beforehand. For the US, Korean nationals aged 17 or older with multiple passports must be registered in SES in advance. You can register following these steps: ① Fill out an application form; ② Get a background check for criminal/investigation records; ③ Get background check confirmed by the Republic of Korea; ④ Pay the Global Entry (GE) fees; ⑤ Get background check confirmed by the United States; ⑥ Schedule an interview for GE registration; and ⑦ Conduct interview for GE registration. If you’ve successfully signed up for SES-GE, you will no longer need to wait in line for immigration clearance at US airports!

For more about how to register for each country, visit the SES website (www.ses.go.kr).

So, we’ve taken a look at Incheon Airport’s automated immigration clearance system. Incheon Airport is surely taking the lead as a smart airport through automation and cutting-edge technology. If you haven’t tried SES yet, be sure to try next time you go to Incheon Airport for your next travel!

Exploring the Hidden Hot Spot in Incheon Airport, the Construction Management Center!

“When did Incheon Airport open?”

Incheon Airport opened in 2001. This year marks the airport’s 19th anniversary.

“How was Incheon Airport built?”

In this post, Incheon Airport will answer this question.

The place that we will introduced to you today is a hidden place in the airport that is lesser-known as it was recently remodeled and opened. It is a place that may be interesting to those interested in the airport’s history.

 

As you drive along the highway leading to Terminal 2, you will see a modern building on your left.

Voila! This is Incheon Airport Construction Management Center. Construction Management Center? For some reason, it feels like unauthorized people aren’t allowed entrance here, right? However, the twist is that ordinary people can freely access this center, not just those involved in construction.

What purpose does the Construction Management Center serve?

Construction Management Center is a place that was renovated as part of Incheon Airport’s Phase 4 Construction. What is “Phase 4 Construction”?

 

Incheon Airport was expanded in phases:

▲Opened in 2001 (Phase 1 Construction)

▲Opened Concourse in 2008 (Phase 2 Construction)

▲Opened Terminal 2 in 2018 (Phase 3 Construction)

The Incheon Airport Phase 4 Construction Project is a project that expands Terminal 2, builds the new Runway 4, and expands aprons from 2017 to 2024 to meet the growing demands for flights.

Phase 4 is expected to serve as the driving force for promoting the local and national economy by creating almost 60,000 jobs and generating economic effects worth KRW 13 trillion.

As such, the Construction Management Center is a space that contains the history and future of Incheon Airport’s construction.

Tips for visiting the Construction Management Center: #1 Check out the docent program

How to make your visit to the Construction Management Center worthwhile?

This is the first tip. If you decide to visit the PR Exhibition Hall on the 1st floor, do not miss out on the docent program for a vivid description of the entire Incheon Airport Construction Project!

With the kind docent’s explanation, you can learn about Incheon Airport’s construction history, get answers to any questions you might have such as how the terminal was built or how many construction workers were involved in the project, and learn about the details of the upcoming Phase 4 Construction project.

The program is provided in English, so why not visit with a friend and take some photos together? The docent program is lasts about 30 minutes and a video is also prepared available.

For those of you who are hesitant to stop by, we prepared a snippet of the docent program. Let’s begin!

When we start something from nothing, we often use the phrase, “Start from scratch. When it comes to the construction for Incheon Airport, it may be more fitting to say, “There wasn’t even something to scratch. It really isn’t an exaggeration as the Incheon Airport’s land was reclaimed off the coast of Yeongjongdo in 1992. The airport was then built on that land.

Starting from the entrance of this exhibition hall, visitors can check out the early days of construction through photographs of people carrying construction materials and building seawalls on the site! The world-class Incheon Airport materialized out of nothing. You may feel a sort of awe when seeing the gap between past and present.

Then, you can hear about the background of development for Incheon Airport and Phase 1 Construction, Phase 2 Construction, and Phase 3 Construction. This will give you a rough understanding of the project as a whole.

The first thing that may surprise you is why Incheon Airport is recognized as a world-class airport and the sheer scale of its construction. The second thing that may surprise you is the continued progress made by Incheon Airport that never settles and its high evaluations, such as 1st place in Airport Service Quality (ASQ) for 12 years in a row and Airports Council International (ACI)’s Airport Customer Experience Accreditation.

After learning about Phase 3, you enter the Video Room located in PR Exhibition Hall! You watch a 5-minte video clip about Phase 4 Construction.

After you watch the video clip, you can get more information about Phase 4 Construction! You cannot talk about Phase 4 Construction without talking about Terminal 2 and Runway 4. Incheon Airport’s transformation to become the world’s best airport begins with these two.

 

As Incheon Airport is very large in scale, it is not easy to see the entire airport at a glance.

The advantage of the docent program is that you can hear the explanations while also looking at sophisticated 3D models!

The photo on the left is a model for Terminal 2, which shows how it looked once the expansion was completed. This photo looks bigger and more awesome when looked at in real life. The photo on the right is a model for Yeongjongdo, which categorizes existing facilities (Phase 1 to 3) and expanded facilities in Phase 4 by color!

Next, Green, Art, and Smart are explained, which are key features of the Phase 4 Construction Project. You can check out the new features that are changing in Incheon Airport coinciding with Phase 4 Construction, such as its efforts to become a low-carbon eco-friendly airport that breathes with nature and the introduction of new smart technologies!!

With photos alone, there are many things to talk about, right? The docent program allows visitors to experience and understand Incheon Airport through various dimensions.

Wait! Don’t forget to make a reservation before you come visit. It is a necessary procedure to allow us to provide a more detailed and prepared program. Check the information below for making a reservation.

1) Making a reservation via phone

032-741-3296 (reservations can be made easily at least 1 week before)

2) Filling out a tour application form online

⇨ Fill out the tour application form (download link to be added) and send it to iia4th@airport.kr

3) Visiting in person

Go to NAVER Map

Do not visit on the weekend! We are open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. (Please note that we care closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and other holidays!)

It is difficult to reach the Construction Management Center via public transportation. Note that you can only get here with your own car!