SEOUL • South Korea's main international gateway, Incheon Airport, opened its second terminal yesterday, significantly increasing its capacity three weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics, the airport authorities said.
More than 300,000 tourists are expected to enter the country through Incheon during next month's Games, and the new terminal will allow 18 million more passengers to pass through the Seoul-area hub each year.
A high-speed railway will connect the terminal to Pyeongchang, where the sporting extravaganza is set to take place from Feb 9 to Feb 25.
"I think this new terminal is going to be a proud symbol for this country," said 30-year-old Chung Yu Jeong, the first passenger to depart from the terminal.
Many other countries hosting Olympic Games and major sporting events have had trouble preparing infrastructure, with dashes to complete stadiums and other facilities in time but, in South Korea, the process has been highly competent.
Last year, 62 million passengers and 2.9 million tonnes of cargo passed through Incheon's existing terminal, making it one of the world's 20 busiest airports.
It took nine years to build the new terminal, the airport's first major expansion since it opened in March 2001, at a cost of 4.9 trillion won (S$6 billion). It houses four airlines - South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air, Air France, Delta and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.