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New Incheon airport terminal opens without hiccups

Posted January. 19, 2018 08:53,   

Updated January. 19, 2018 09:26


At the new passenger terminal at Incheon International Airport, which officially began operations Thursday, a 28-year-old woman passenger went directly to a self-service check-in device on the third floor rather than to a Korean Air counter to check herself in for a flight to Paris, France.

After entering her reservation number on the kiosk, an unmanned information terminal with a touch screen, she put her passport on the barcode reader and got her ticket issued and frequent-flier mileages deposited into her account. Then, she entered her ticket and passport information into a self-service bag drop system and puts her baggage on a conveyer belt after attaching a tag on the handle of her baggage. The whole process took about five minutes. After going through the security check and immigration examination, she enjoyed shopping at the duty-free shops.

The first day of the new, 4.9-trillion-won (4.6 billion U.S. dollars) terminal went smoothly. The terminal was not crowded, although some 53,000 passengers used it to get aboard or off 235 airplanes on the day. The Terminal 1, which 141,000 people used on the same day, was very busy. It took an average of 25 minutes at the Terminal 2 for a passenger to complete a departing process, while about 40 minutes was spent by passengers using at the Terminal 1.

The baggage handling system had no error at all at the new terminal. The long- and short-term parking lots capable of accommodating a total of 5,970 vehicles at the same time had vacancy in over 40 percent of its total space, causing no inconvenience for those who visited the terminal on their own cars. The ballet parking service near the immigration terminal on the third floor also went smoothly. Duty-free stores operated by seven companies in the new terminal also opened for service.

“The arrival and departure systems at the Terminal 2 were operated normally without any operational issues,” said Chung Il-young, president of Incheon International Airport Corp. “If you find yourself at a wrong terminal, you can use a shuttle bus or an airport train running at five-minute intervals as guided by a helper or a staff member.”

Kum-Chun Hwang kchwang@donga.com