“Fast! Fresh!” Logistic infrastructure in Incheon Airport

Two emerging trends in the airport logistics industry! In the previous post, we looked at increasing demand for e-commerce cargo and fresh cargo.

This post will talk about what infrastructure Incheon Airport is establishing in line with changing trends in logistics, focusing on major facilities.

1) Popular goods prepared in advance! - Global Distribution Center (GDC)

Incheon Airport is putting efforts to create a logistics hub specialized in e-commerce. One of such efforts is its GDC.

Global Distribution Center (GDC) refers to a center for global logistics which receives and stores products from global e-commerce companies, classifies and repackages them by item, and delivers them according to individual orders. The key is to predict demand for particular products with big data and place in advance such products at GDC.

For instance, you can bring clothes from Europe and the US and sell them in Japan and China. You can store products you bring by predicting their demand at Incheon Airport’s GDC and transport them to other countries when orders are placed. It is gaining attention as a business model which reduces time and cost while improving logistical competitiveness. In addition, GDC is expected to create more than 300 jobs and the economic value of more than KRW 100 billion and being highlighted as a logistical facility that contributes to the national economy.

Incheon Airport is making efforts to build infrastructure, such as a lot for GDC as well as direct/return routes. Furthermore, to attract competitive logistical companies to GDC, it is seeking various activities to improve competitiveness in GDC land, such as implementing strategic incentives and providing multifaceted policy support through a government-wide committee.

2) “One-stop” logistics handling beyond storage - Fulfillment Center

Incheon Airport is trying to attract fulfillment centers of global tech companies, such as Amazon and Alibaba, in response to increasing e-commerce and changing processes in the distribution industry. If such companies come here, it may work as a breakthrough to get ahead with e-commerce cargo in the Asia-Pacific region and become an important growth engine.

Fulfillment refers to logistics performed by professional logistic firms on behalf of sellers, including storage, sorting, packaging, delivery, and handling. While distribution centers used to simply store products, fulfillment is a concept over the full cycle including product storage, orders, packaging, and after-sales service.

Incheon Airport acquired additional land for its Fulfillment Center from some part of the land reserved for Sky City and is conducting activities to encourage government-wide policy support. In addition, it is focusing on attracting more fulfillment centers by actively making use of relative stability in laws and regulations in Korea, business friendly policy environments, and the country’s location connecting Asia and the Americas.

3) Cool and fresh… Facility designed to handle fresh cargo! Cool Cargo Center (CCC)

Temperature control and product value are key in transporting fresh cargo. Since food or drug products show performance at different temperatures, they need a cold chain cargo terminal combining various facilities and future technologies.

In this regard, Incheon Airport is garnering attention as it pursues the construction of Cool Cargo Center (CCC), a facility dedicated to handling in the passenger apron, for the first time in Northeast Asia. If the facility is constructed, it will greatly shorten the logistical process. While fresh cargo was transported to the passenger terminal from the cargo terminal through the cargo waiting place in the past, it will be moved directly to the passenger terminal with CCC. It can create belly cargo of more than 60,000 tons annually, which reduces 120 minutes in connecting time and 60% in distance!

Apart from providing a strategic terminal area and period depending on the type of cargo and seasonal temperature, Incheon Airport will introduce the Cool Chain Dolly cold chain container to minimize outdoor air exposure for fresh cargo while loading and unloading to and from airplanes and provide technical support including temperature history control by using IoT and blockchain.

Drug product transport in particular is expected to grow the fastest in the air cargo industry, and competition is getting fierce among airports around the world. In June 2019, Incheon Airport acquired IATA CEIV Pharma, a quality certification for the air transport of drug products, built a higher level of trust, and is ramping up its efforts to attract and expand more drug products.

We have so far looked at how Incheon Airport is preparing its logistical infrastructure for emerging cargo trends.

Let’s look forward to more achievements and efforts by Incheon Airport, which is preemptively responding to changes by developing specialized logistical facilities and systems, including Global Distribution Center, Fulfillment Center, and Cool Cargo Center!

An airline that flew empty airplanes for several months?

There is an airline that flew its 124-seater airplane for several months without any passengers—this airline is British Mediterranean Airways (BMed) which stopped operating back in 2007! Flying empty airplanes reportedly cost the airline KRW 3 billion. Why did the airline choose to fly empty airplanes despite such huge loss?

Flying empty airplanes without passengers or cargo is called ferry flying. Curious about why an airline would fly its planes without transport, which is the main purpose of airplanes? Today, we would like to introduce to you the story of BMed while telling you about ferry flying. Let’s begin by looking at the purpose of ferry flying.

What is the purpose of ferry flying?

There are many reasons for ferry flying empty airplanes. Here are four main situations for airlines to operate ferry flying!

(1) Airplane maintenance

The first reason for ferry flying is airplane maintenance. For airplane maintenance, airplanes need to go to another base or hangar. In such cases, empty airplanes are flown out for maintenance work and the same goes for airplanes that have finished maintenance work! Final inspection is required to see if repairs are done correctly or if there are any problems, and as a test, empty airplanes are flown to inspect their functions.

(2) Importing and exporting airplanes

The second reason for ferry flying is importing and exporting airplanes. Empty airplanes are flown when imported or exported to another country. Ferry flying is how airplanes are delivered from an exporting country to an importing one.


(3) Maintaining pilots’ qualification

Third, ferry flying is done to maintain pilots’ qualification. Pilots are required to take off and land airplanes periodically to maintain their qualification.

For instance, a pilot for large 500-seater A380 aircrafts must have at least three take-offs and landings within the past 90 days. However, as it became difficult for A380 pilots to maintain their qualification due to COVID-19, Asiana Airlines recently flew empty airplanes despite the heavy cost per flight. While it is possible to maintain qualification through flight simulators, only Korean Air has one A380 simulator among Korea’s airlines, and they say it is barely enough for their training.

(4) Air charter or special flights

The last reason is air charter or special flights. Empty airplanes are flown when they come back after transporting passengers to the destination or go to pick up passengers.

Do you remember that Korea recently sent air charter airplanes to other countries due to COVID-19? In March, the Vietnamese government suddenly banned airplanes departing from Korea from landing in Hanoi Airport, and an airplane from Asiana Airlines returned all of a sudden. In the end, Korean airlines conducted ferry flying to get there to pick up stranded Korean passengers in Vietnam. Since the country sent air charter airplanes to Italy and New Zealand, there must have been several ferry flights, right? J

Why did BMed conduct ferry flying for several months?

Let’s get back to BMed. What caused BMed to conduct ferry flying for several months is when a flight route from London to Tashkent, Uzbekistan was shut down. As the flight route bound for Tashkent was shut down, it sent empty airplanes to Cardiff near the UK! There was a special reason, not part of the four reasons we mentioned above.

London’s Heathrow Airport had the largest number of international passengers until 2015 to the extent that flights took off and landed on a minute basis. It is one of the airports where it is difficult to get a new flight route and secure a slot, which is a time on a certain day allocated for take-offs and landings.

Once secured, the slot can be only maintained when it is used more than 80% of the time and unless the airline does not give it up. As the flight route bound for Tashkent was shut down, other airlines eyed on this empty slot. BMed continued ferry flying to protect its slot despite the huge cost—as much as six times a week!

We have so far talked about ferry flying empty airplanes. How was it? Isn’t it surprising not only to know that empty airplane are flown but also the various reasons behind it? Next time, we will come back with airplane knowledge as interesting as ferry flying! J

Instagrammable Places Inside Incheon International Airport

When Terminal 2 of Incheon International Airport was unveiled, it not only doubled the size of the busiest airport in South Korea, but it also created some breathtakingly beautiful and extremely Instagrammable places inside the travel hub that is considered a gateway to Asia. The modern design created by Gensler, Heerim and partners in the HMGY Consortium was inspired by the Asian Phoenix which is a mythological creature that symbolizes authority, longevity, strength, and balance and is rooted in Korean culture. With a modern appeal and traditional accents, the airport that has repeatedly won awards and has been named the best airport in the world is absolutely Instagram-worthy in all of the right ways.


Incheon International Airport consists of Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Concourse, a transportation center, public area, and a Duty Free area. Here are three places and spaces in Incheon International Airport you need to see to believe and then photograph and share with your Instagram followers. Whether you’re traveling through Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, there is something to photograph and plenty to enjoy.

1. A World of Mirrors In The Node Garden


Easily one of the most eye catching sights in person and for your Instagram game is the installation called “Dreaming Space” by Oh Soon Mi which you can step inside for an amazing view. Names of cities around the world are engraved all around the interior of the globe-like installation and the reflective surfaces shine and dazzle as you stare off in the surrounding space. Want to show off your airport style? This is the space to do just that. Need to post one last Instagram photo before your plane departs? Make time to stop here.

This installation is set in the Node Garden area of the airport which is also where cultural performances take place throughout the day. If you are there in time, you’ll be able to take a cool photo and see a traditional Korean music or classical music concert. The concerts take place for thirty minutes and take place at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, and 5:00pm.

Location: Terminal 2, Near Gates 253 and 254 on 3F

2. A Forest Beneath An Architectural Sky

The design of the terminal 2 not only focused on functionality, but also sustainability and the interior with a triangle cut-out sky features photovoltaic cells that capture energy from the sun while the sun lights allow natural light in to minimize electrical use. The giant trees that tower inside of the space bring a complimentary feeling with nature and modern design colliding in an extremely Instagrammable space. The lush greens of the flora and fauna against the stark white of the airport create a crisp clean and calming sensation that will have you mesmerized as you move through the airport.

It’s a scene that feels very futuristic. You could easily take a seat beneath one of the pine trees, grab a book and introduce your followers to the most relaxing and photographic space in Incheon International Airport.

Location: Terminal 2, Near Gates 248 and 253 on 3F

3. A Traditional Pavilion With A Modern Building Surrounding at Korean Cultural Street

 No trip to Korea is complete without resting in a traditional pavilion and luckily for travelers that somehow missed one, there is one to be found in Incheon International Airport’s Korean Cultural Street. The cultural street area features a pavilion and other giwajip, or traditional Korean houses with tiled roofs.

The really Instagram worthy spot is when you take a seat in the traditional gazebo called a jeongja. If you angle the camera just right, you can get that traditional pavilion against the modern industrial ceiling showing off a traditional modern juxtaposition that is all kinds of appealing. This is a beautiful ode to the modern and traditional scenery that can be seen throughout Korea.

Location: Terminal 1, Central Public Area 4F

If you’re coming to South Korea or leaving, you’ll undoubtedly be traveling via Incheon International Airport. Formerly the winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards and the 2020 winner of the World’s Best Transit Airport, it is eye catching from numerous angles. Find these three places, though, and your Instagram likes will be soaring.

Incheon International Airport is 48 kilometers west of Seoul and accessible via numerous public and private transportation options.

AREX: This is a convenient train line that takes travelers from Seoul Station in central Seoul straight out to the airport. There are both express and regular trains on the line and visitors can even check-in their bags at Seoul Station so they don’t have to carry them the entire way. This is a great service for international travelers.

Airport Limousine Bus: There are airport limousine buses that run throughout Seoul so there’s always a stop near you. Just look for the Airport Limousine Bus sign or ask your hotel staff.

*Due to COVID-19, operating time could be changed. Make sure you check out the website before you use it.

Written by Hallie Bradley

Hallie Bradley is a writer based in Seoul and runs the popular site thesoulofseoul.net.


Hottest trends in air logistics

“Huh? There are trends in air logistics?”

Of course! Markets change according to changes in production and consumption, and with new markets come new trends. Recently in the air logistics industry, many are trying to attract demand in the rapidly emerging new growth cargo.

Curious as to what exactly is new growth cargo? Let’s find out!

Newly emerging “e-commerce cargo” and “fresh cargo”!

New growth cargo refers to cargo whose which consistent growth is expected with the latest rapid growth in demand. There are two types that are gaining a lot of attention: e-commerce cargo and fresh cargo.

(1) E-commerce cargo

Let’s take a look at e-commerce cargo first. The global e-commerce market is growing immensely as a result of an ever increasing global mobile and web accessibility.

Global e-commerce consists of international purchases (Korean consumers buying overseas products) and domestic sales (overseas consumers buying Korean products). Recently, the global online shopping market is growing rapidly with overseas content from YouTube, cheaper prices than those in Korea, and fast parcel services.

According to the global market research company Euromonitor International, the e-commerce market in 2019 was worth USD 2 trillion, which has grown 21% on average over the past 5 years. This year, as consumers avoided going out to prevent COVID-19, e-commerce is emerging as an alternative shopping channel. You can easily find someone around you who buys stuff from overseas online. With advances in information technology and logistics infrastructure, competitive products are moving freely across borders.

(2) Fresh cargo

Leading fresh cargo products are food and drugs. Taking a closer look at the trends in their growth will make you realize how and why they are gaining attention.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), export of fresh food in 2019 exceeded USD 1.3 billion for the first time with ginseng and kimchi sales recording USD 200 million and USD 100 million, respectively. K-food is gaining huge popularity in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. Meanwhile, export of Korean drug products in March reached USD 576.68 million, up 45.4% from the previous month, and there is growing interest in personal healthcare including personal hygiene products and health products as personal hygiene and health management are becoming all the more important due to COVID-19.

The reason why the logistics industry focuses on food and drug markets is that they represent high added value, which requires a high level of expertise in services. In particular, products which value is determined by time (live vs frozen lobsters) create added value beyond logistical cost.

For food and drugs, it is critical to maintain freshness during storage and transport. It is tricky to do so since the appropriate temperature varies depending on the product. That is why there is increasing attention to infrastructure to control temperature in the supple chain and maintain freshness, such as cold chain.

We looked at two trends in air logistics, from e-commerce cargo to fresh cargo. Wondering how Incheon Airport, Korea’s leading airport logistical hub, is responding in line with these new growing cargo trends? Stay tuned to the next post for more! 😊

See You Again, Graffiti in Incheon Airport

It has been three seasons since the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are overcoming the crisis—big and small—and carrying on with their life. Many places around the world are holding cultural and art events to deliver a message of comfort. Incheon Airport is also launching a new art project that delivers a message of hope to help people overcome COVID-19.

This project is an exhibition of graffiti in Incheon Airport. Let’s take a closer look at the artwork See You Again and see how Incheon Airport is seeking to become an “artport” providing various experiences of the arts and culture.

Graffiti in Incheon Airport

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “graffiti”? Most of you probably think of big building facades, murals, spray paint or hip hop. Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface mostly with spray paint, and it is a form of art that is usually within public view, displaying various messages to society through visual image.

Then, how is it that we can see graffiti inside Incheon Airport when it is usually on walls outside?

While graffiti has close ties to hip hop and street art, it is exhibited in many museums nowadays. Incheon Airport decided to choose graffiti for its public art project as it fits its motto of supporting diversity in the arts and culture!

This project was planned together by the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation (GGCF) and Incheon Airport. GGCF has conducted various projects that integrate public art into life, and has now expanded its project scope into Incheon Airport to reach international audiences beyond Gyeonggi-do Province.

The artwork is exhibited at the entrance of Departures Hall in Terminal 1 (T1) until Fri, Oct. 30, so make sure to check it out when you visit Incheon Airport before the exhibition ends!

Now, let’s take a closer look at the graffiti artists involved in See You Again!

See You Again (2020) by Koo Hunjoo and Choi Jin-hyun

Koo Hunjoo (@kay2) and Choi Jin-hyun (@JINSBH) are the artists behind this graffiti project. They say they started working on this project due to concerns of challenges in communication and exchanges between countries, including the latest incidents regarding racism and border shutdowns.

They worked on See You Again to be exhibited in Incheon Airport with portrait and written graffiti depicting a message of overcoming COVID-19 in the midst of current events. With that said, let’s begin by taking a look at Koo’s portrait graffiti.

Koo is known for emotional and realistic portrait graffiti. He is more interested in non-mainstream subcultures and has worked on many murals, similar to figurative paintings. His notable artwork includes Big Boy Observing the World (2012), a large mural in Gwangalli, Busan. He portrays a child, whom people need to watch after, watching people on the street instead. The artwork is considered to produce a narrative beyond conventional belief by inverting the relationship between adults and children.

He has drawn graffiti featuring the faces of his friends in Korea and around the world. He came up with the idea for See You Again thinking of friends all over the world during this time of travel restrictions due to COVID-19. It consists of five people of various races and ages, symbolizing passengers in Incheon Airport. Koo was able to spray paint massive and detailed portraits working with various wide and fine nozzles. Like his wish, we hope we can freely travel and see each other again someday.

Choi was in charge of spray painting the wild, stylistic Korean graffiti. He has worked on various wide-ranging artworks and gigs, including graffiti murals, live painting at events, graphic design, custom helmet painting, and even exhibitions. Choi was able to expand his field of expertise and add public art to his resume through this project.

With his unique Korean graffiti style, Choi delivers a message of “love, peace, co-existence, and hope”. In this artwork, he focused on using a more popular style to deliver a clear message. It seems that See You Again is successful in harmoniously depicting Korean and portraits through graffiti and delivering its key message!

Incheon Airport as an airport of culture and art

This graffiti project is one of Incheon Airport’s various efforts to be an airport that promotes the arts and culture—this time even combining street art. Incheon Airport’s Culture and Art Project Management Division is planning and managing more artistic and cultural content as well as performances to be showcased in Incheon Airport to be an airport of the arts and culture. This graffiti project is just one of many more to come!

Currently, there are many artworks displayed in Incheon Airport—or shall we call it Incheon Artport? Passengers can enjoy their airline ticket as an art museum ticket, too! Feel free to look at the magnificent artwork all across the airport upon your arrival/departure.

With this See You Again project, we can enjoy artworks in more diverse media like graffiti in Incheon Airport. With an agreement with GGCF, Incheon Airport will continue to implement public art projects, support and foster new artists, and provide assistance for the arts. You will soon be able to see more diverse artistic and cultural content in the airport!

As you can see, Incheon Airport is seeking to becomes a place for travelers to enjoy the arts and culture beyond just a temporary rest stop during air travel. Incheon Airport will continue to work hard to bring joy to passengers!



K-airport disease prevention impresses Indonesia

Who are the world’s hottest artists? They’re BTS from Korea, who recently topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Apart from K-pop sweeping across the world, the Hallyu (Korean Wave) is also coming in other area. That is K-disease prevention, which is gaining attention as a new alternative in the COVID-19 crisis. Incheon Airport, which is the gateway to Korea and the front line of disease prevention, plays a key role in K-disease prevention. Incheon Airport boasts of robust K-airport disease prevention, which has recently knocked the door of Indonesia.

On September 10, Incheon Airport and Bali Airport conducted an online agreement on COVID-19 Safe Corridor Consulting Agreement with PT Angkasa Pura 1 (“AP1”) of Indonesia. Under this Agreement, Incheon Airport is planning to provide K-airport disease prevention knowhow to Bali Airport in Indonesia. Since Bali Airport is the gateway to Bali, the airport is crowded by foreign tourists around the year, and its collaboration with Incheon Airport is gaining more attention from the people.

In particular, the said consulting will be provided for free on humanitarian grounds to overcome COVID-19. Then, let me tell you the secrets for K-airport disease prevention performed by Incheon Airport, which has impressed even Indonesia!

Secret #1: Smart disease prevention system