South Korea is planning to construct a new ‘floating airport’ near Busan

South Korea is planning to construct a new 'floating airport' near Busan

The land ministry in South Korea announced Tuesday that the country’s first floating airport will be built in the southern port city of Busan by 2035.

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Last year, the National Assembly adopted a bill for a 13.7 trillion won ($10.97 billion) mega state project to build a new airport on Gadeok Island, Busan’s largest island, to meet rising air traffic demand and boost growth in the country’s southeast region.

The new facility would be an offshore airport built on a floating structure at sea, according to the full proposal released by the land ministry on Tuesday.

To expedite construction procedures, the government is pushing to skip a preliminary feasibility study, and a review committee under the finance ministry will make a final decision on the exemption later this week.

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Following an environmental survey, the land ministry intends to begin developing a detailed construction plan this year. If everything goes as planned, construction will begin in 2025, and the new airport will open in June 2035.

According to a study, the proposed airport would handle approximately 23.36 million passengers and 286,000 tons of cargo in 2065.

However, the project’s long-running controversies may continue, as lawmakers in the region have claimed that the central government’s plan necessitates more budget and time.

According to critics, the new facility is not economically viable and will have a negative impact on the environment in the region.

The issue has been debated for nearly ten years.

The liberal Roh Moo-hyun administration (2003-2008) proposed the project to disperse the growing air traffic to and from Busan’s Gimhae International Airport, the region’s only international airport, which was deemed almost saturated.

The conservative Park Geun-hye administration pushed for a project to expand Busan’s existing Gimhae airport, but a state committee under the current Moon Jae-in administration effectively killed it after reviewing its feasibility.

Then, lawmakers from the ruling party proposed building a new airport on Gadeok and pushed for the project to be expedited.

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