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E&T's Asian exclusive news round-up leads with reports of $3.3 billion airport investment getting the green light.

$3.3bn airport expansion wins approval

South Korea's Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs has given the go-ahead for a major expansion of Seoul's Incheon International Airport under the third phase of the development of the facility.

Incheon International Airport Corp (IIAC), which manages the airport, will invest US$3.3bn in the expansion, which is due for completion by July 2015. Planning and design work will begin in October, with construction expected to start in March 2011.

According to IIAC spokeswoman Jasmine Jung, the completion date could either be brought forward or delayed a few months depending on future demand for air travel.

Work will involve the construction of a second passenger terminal building to the north of the existing terminal. Terminal 2 will have a capacity to handle 18 million passengers and 1.3 million tonnes of cargo a year.

The number of gates and check-in counters will be firmed up during the design stage. The apron will expand to have 173 remote parking bays for passenger aircraft and 57 for freighters with the construction of 65 and 21 bays respectively.

The high-speed rail line linking Gimpo International Airport, 30km from Seoul, with Incheon will be extended to the second terminal.

In line with the Korean government's low-carbon growth policy, Terminal 2 will be designed as a highly efficient facility in terms of energy consumption. It will operate on solar and other renewable energies.

Bike trails and magnetic levitation track for the high-speed train will be constructed as part of the project to become an 'Environment-friendly Green Airport'.

When work on Phase 3 is completed Incheon will be able to handle 62 million passengers a year and 5.8 million tonnes of cargo.

The expansion will enhance the airport's position as an aviation hub in Northeast Asia.

The Master Plan for Incheon International Airport that was approved in February 1992 was to build and develop the facility in three phases, increasing capacity as passenger numbers and cargo handling volume grew. This was, however changed to four phases after the airport opened for operations.

Under the Master Plan, by 2020 Incheon will have two passenger terminals, four satellite buildings, 128 boarding gates and four parallel runways, with capacities for 100 million passengers a year and seven million tonnes of cargo.

The date for commencement of Phase 4 has yet to be fixed.

Last year Incheon handled 30 million passengers and 2.4 million tonnes cargo, falls of 3.2 per cent and 4 per cent respectively over 2007.

IIAC expects a further decline in passenger numbers and cargo volume this year due to the weakening demand for travel.

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