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A comprehensive dry run at Incheon Airport

Posted February. 28, 2001 15:58,   


``The stars -- airline companies; supporting actors -- Korea Customs Service and other institutions located in the airport; the producer -- Incheon International Airport Corp.``

A comprehensive operations test that approximates actual operational conditions at Incheon International Airport was conducted at the Youngjong Island facility on Feb. 27. The test, the most comprehensive in domestic aviation history, was carried out by 15,000 people, many of whom were volunteers, and involved airplanes, buses and cargo. The event took on the character of a blockbuster Hollywood film production.


At 12:15 p.m., an Asiana flight that had departed Kimpo International Airport 35 minutes before, landed on the No. 2 runway at Incheon Airport. Thirty-five imaginary passengers got off the airplane and entered the passenger terminal through gate No. 9 and went through entry procedures at the customs desk. The remaining volunteers wandered through various airport facilities and submitted to entry and departure procedures. Duty-free shops and bookstores were temporarily opened to greet the imaginary customers. The automatic sidewalk and glass elevators were operating, and 252 check-in counters bustled with airline company officials.

Approximation of real-life conditions:

A total of 15,500 people, including 100 officials at the entry and departure office, 93 customs officers, 12 quarantine officials and another 500 ``supporting actors and actresses`` participated in the large-scale tests. Korean Air Lines (KAL) and Asiana Airlines supplied B777-300 flights and B767 flights, 350 buses and about 5,000 pieces of cargo.

Challenges ahead:

The greatest difficulties were encountered at counters where departing passengers check their baggage. It took as much as eight minutes each to complete necessary procedures. A member of KAL`s boarding procedures team said, ``The processing speed was too slow, which will surely lead to passenger complaints unless the situation is corrected.`` Complicated signboards were also cited as a serious problem.

A volunteer pointed out, ``Although there are a lot signboards, they are difficult to understand. Signboards are one of the areas that have to be improved.``

Song Jin-Hup jinhup@donga.com