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After almost five years of construction work, Incheon’s Terminal 2 is open for business. The second terminal at South Korea's busiest airport began operation on January 18th 2018. It looks set to make it easier than ever before for visitors to experience the delights of Incheon, of the South Korea capital at Seoul, and way, way beyond.
Several of the world's biggest carriers have already relocated to the second terminal, including the national carrier Korean Air, the Netherlands' KLM, Air France and Delta Airlines from the USA. China Eastern is also expected to relocate its Korean hub to Incheon Terminal 2, which means – for vast numbers of visitors – the exciting new terminal will be their first port of call in the East Asian Nation.
Within reach of the popular mountain area of Pyeongchang, Incheon's new terminal serves a very important function in the short term. As the region gears up to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korean officials are bracing themselves for an almost unprecedented influx of visitors, all eager to see the world's best athletes in competition.
Not since the Seoul Summer Olympic in 1988 or the jointly hosted World Cup with Japan in 2002, has the global spotlight shone so brightly on South Korea. It is unclear as yet how many people will descend on the sleepy region of Pyeongchang (population 43,000), but it will be a serious number. Athletes alone will number over 6,500.
But South Korea is prepared. The new terminal at Incheon is just one of the measures put in place to ensure the games run as efficiently as possible and the new infrastructure will have little trouble when it comes to handling the increased demand. The terminal is designed to accommodate 18 million passengers each year, bringing the airport's total capacity to well over 72 million.
A modern airport, however, requires more than just scale. It requires the sort of hi tech solutions that reflect the state of travel and transport in the 21st Century. South Korea is no stranger to this sort of technological wizardry – it is home to the world's fastest average internet speeds, after all. The new terminal is packed with the kind of equipment required to handle the demands of this year's Winter Olympics and Seoul's tourism needs for the foreseeable future. These include 24 full body scanners to provide 21st Century security for safe and comfortable traveling, as well as 63 self check-in desks, which make it easy for passengers to connect to their flights. It is estimated that these automated measures will make it possible for the airport's visitors to complete the check-in process in only half an hour.
Efficiency and supreme capability are certainly critical elements – South Korea regularly accepts over 1.5 million visitors each month – but the new terminal is designed to go beyond this. Incheon Terminal 2 is intended to inspire and relax visitors in equal measure. This means supporting technology with a beautiful and engaging environment.
Renowned French artist Xavier Veilhan was commissioned to create a striking installation for the check-in area, welcoming travelers as they arrive. Meanwhile, artist Julius Popp created Bit.Fall for the baggage claim area showcasing the union of technology, art and water and celebrating the multicultural and multinational flavour of modern tourism in South Korea.
Regardless of the legacy of the 2018 winter games in Pyeongchang, Incheon's second terminal promises to be a cornerstone of South Korea tourism for years to come.
Book your stay at the Holiday Inn Incheon Songdo and begin your South Korean adventure at one of the world's most advanced airports, Incheon International Airport.