South Korea's Government plans to invest USD1.60 billion in the third-phase expansion of Incheon International Airport from 2011 to 2015 (Reuters, 04-Jan-2011). The investment will be made by the state-owned airport and the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. USD3.6 billion (SKW4 trillion) will be spent on construction from 2009 to 2017. In Sep-2011, the government will sell up to a 49% stake in the airport, aiming to complete the deal by 2011, but it has yet to launch the sale as legislation issues were still pending at the parliamentary level.
South Korea to invest USD1.6bn in Incheon by 2015
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Korean LCCs: fleet surpasses 100 aircraft but market faces growth constraints; China the latest
Korea's LCC sector ended 2016 with 103 aircraft – the first time the collective fleet had crossed the 100 mark for what, until recently, was Northeast Asia's most dynamic market. Korea has six LCCs, with Jeju Air regaining a strong lead as the largest LCC. Half of Korea's LCC fleet has been added in the last three years. It is Northeast Asia's largest LCC market after China and, surprisingly, well ahead of Japan.
But overall Northeast Asia's LCC sector is pale in comparison to Southeast Asia, whose LCCs operate 74% more aircraft. Lion Air alone has more aircraft than all of Korea, while the AirAsia Group has more than all of China. Only three of East Asia's ten largest LCCs are in Northeast Asia.
And it is unclear how much further Korea's LCCs can grow in the short term. They have mostly flown domestically, and slots are now constrained. International opportunities are also challenging, and further complicated by the Jan-2017 decision of China to reject charter applications during the popular – and very profitable – Chinese New Year. Korea's LCCs needed liberalisation, not antagonism.
Airports - subject as always to the vicarious uncertainty of airline fortunes
CAPA’s 2016 outlook was against a background of unusually high levels of profitability for airlines. In 2017 those profit levels may be eroded as oil prices creep back up, economies falter and political uncertainty abounds over matters such as ‘Brexit’ and the election of a new and unpredictable US president – along with the prospect of greater levels of protectionism and threats to open skies agreements. All of which, of course, must impact on airports.
Perhaps nothing sums up this political uncertainty more than the ‘decision’ made – at length – by the British government that London Heathrow Airport will be expanded by the addition of a single runway, and which is not a decision at all. It must be rubber stamped by MPs by Dec-2017 and there is no ‘certainty’ about that. On a potentially more positive note however, Donald Trump’s election as US President could generate new, much need investment in US airport infrastructure.