Airport achieves passenger milestone years early
Gimhae International Airport is often busy.
By the end of last year, Korea Airports Corporation had reported Gimhae International Airport had served 10 million passengers, its largest-ever number of international passengers in a year. This included passengers in transit via domestic flights.
The 42-year-old airport was the first among seven international airports in Korea (not including Incheon International Airport) to reach this achievement for the first time. Gimhae International Airport through November 2018 was the only airport to handle more than 10 percent of international passengers among regional airports. The top spot went to Incheon, at 78.3 percent, while Gimhae took second overall with 11.4 percent, Gimpo International Airport at 5 percent, and Jeju's international airport serving 2.2 percent. Regional airlines have expanded their international routes, which has contributed to Gimhae International Airport having the highest growth rate in terms of international passengers at 12.9 percent annually for the last 10 years among four major domestic airports.
While some international flights were temporarily halted by the Chinese government in retaliation of Korea's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program participation with the United States, growth of 12.7 percent for international flights this year was sufficient evidence that a new airport in Busan was still necessary to pursue, officials said.
Reports had predicted the current airport would not reach 10 million international passengers until 2025. Besides achieving this milestone early, passenger growth rate also exceeded predictions at 7 percent.