South Korea’s largest airport, the Incheon International Airport lies to the west of Seoul and serves both the capital and its surrounding cities. It is built on an artificial piece of land between Yeongjong and Yongyu Islands, just outside Incheon’s city centre, and has frequently been rated as the best airport in the world by Airports Council International.
Seoul-Incheon International Airport’s main passenger terminal has 44 boarding ports which are predominantly used by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines. Flights operated by Air Seoul, Jeju Air and Jin Air also depart from here, as do those to the Middle East with Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways. Two parallel underground passageways connect the main terminal to a passenger concourse, and it’s here that foreign airlines arrive and depart. There are lounges for Star Alliance, Oneworld and SkyTeam affiliated airline passengers within the concourse, together with an award-winning duty-free shopping mall. The airport boasts a spa, ice-skating rink, casino and indoor gardens, as well as a golf course and Museum of Korean Culture. It is renowned for its fast customs processing of passengers compared to other international airports, as well as being one of the cleanest airports in the world. Hong Kong, Bangkok and Osaka are among the airport’s most popular international routes, with Busan, Daegu and Jeju topping its domestic flight destinations.
Seoul-Incheon International Airport has its own Transport Centre, located adjacent to the main terminal building, and it’s here that the Airport Express Station is located. Trains depart from here to Gimpo International Airport and connect to both the Seoul and Incheon subway systems, while airport buses travel to Songjeong Station on the national high-speed KTX railway network.
Incheon International Airport opened as recently as 2001, replacing Gimpo International Airport as Seoul’s main flight facility. Gimpo was struggling to cope with the increased air traffic arriving in the country and now acts as a secondary international airport, with domestic flights to South Korea and the East Asian hubs of Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.