Gimpo International Airport
Gimpo Gukje Gonghang
Domestic Terminal (Before Refurbishment)
|Operator||Korea Airports Corporation|
|Location||Gangseo District, Seoul, South Korea|
|Elevation AMSL||18 m / 58 ft|
Seoul in South Korea
Statistics from KAC
|Gimpo International Airport|
|Revised Romanization||Gimpo Gukje Gonghang|
|McCune-Reischauer||Kimp'o Kukche Konghang|
Gimpo International Airport (Korean: [kimp?o?ukte?o?ha?]), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, formerly SEL, ICAO: RKSS) (formerly Kimpo International Airport), is located in the far western end of Seoul, some 15 km (9 mi) west of the Central District of Seoul. Gimpo was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before being replaced by Incheon International Airport in 2001. It now functions as Seoul's secondary airport. In 2015, 23,163,778 passengers used the airport, making it the third largest airport in Korea, as it has been surpassed by Jeju International Airport.
On 29 November 2003, scheduled services between Gimpo and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan resumed. Services to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport resumed on 28 October 2007. Services to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan started on 26 October 2008. Services to Beijing Capital International Airport started on 1 July 2011. Services to Taipei Songshan Airport started on 30 April 2012.
The airfield was originally constructed in 1935-1942 during the Japanese Imperial period as an Imperial Army base. The runways were built on a bed of rocks manually hauled by Korean laborers from Kaihwasan and Yangchan, several miles from the base. Then known as Keijo New Airfield (), Kimpo was constructed with four runways to supplement the much smaller Keijo Airfield (), which was later known as Yeouido Airport.
North Korean forces attacked South Korea on 25 June 1950 starting the Korean War. During one of the first Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) attacks on 25 June a Military Air Transport Service C-54 Skymaster was destroyed on the ground at Gimpo. On 27 June US naval and air forces began evacuating 748 US diplomats, military dependents, and civilians by air transport from Kimpo and Suwon Airfield. On the afternoon of 27 June five F-82 Twin Mustangs of the 68th Fighter Squadron and 339th Fighter Squadron were escorting four C-54 Skymaster aircraft out of Kimpo when the C-54s were attacked by five KPAF Lavochkin La-7 fighters. In the subsequent dogfights, three LA-7s were shot down for the loss of no US aircraft in the first air battle of the war. Later that day four F-80Cs of the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron shot down four Ilyushin Il-10s for no losses over Gimpo in the USAF's first jet-aircraft victory.
Gimpo was captured by the KPA shortly after the capture of Seoul on 28 June 1950. On 29 June eight B-29s of the 19th Bomb Group bombed Gimpo and the Seoul railyards. By July the KPAF were using the base for attacks on UN forces, on 10 July, seven Yak-7s were hidden at Gimpo and used in strikes against UN positions at Cheongju. The next day they surprised and damaged several F-80s in the area. On 15 July the US launched an attack on Gimpo, destroying two or three of the seven Yak-7s there and damaging the runway. On 5 August 5th Air Force fighters strafed and bombed Gimpo, destroying 9 aircraft and damaging 9 others.:102
Following the Inchon landings on 15 September 1950, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines was ordered to seize Gimpo on 17 September. Gimpo was defended by a conglomeration of half-trained fighting men and service forces and by the morning of 18 September the Marines had secured the airfield. The airfield was in excellent shape as the North Koreans had not had time to do any major demolition.:61 On 19 September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers repaired the local railroad up to eight miles (13 km) inland and 32 C-54 transport planes began flying in gasoline and ordnance. VMF-212 was one of the first units to operate from Gimpo before moving forward to Yonpo Airfield. On 25 September the 811th Engineer Aviation Battalion began repairing bomb damage on the 6,000 feet (1,800 m) asphalt runway at Gimpo and covering it with Marston Matting.:178-9 On 6 October the USAF took control of Gimpo from the USMC.
Following the Chinese Third Phase Campaign and the defeat of UN Forces at the 38th Parallel, on 5 January 1951 General Ridgway ordered the evacuation of Seoul and the withdrawal of UN forces to a new defensive line along the 37th Parallel. Units based at Gimpo were withdrawn to the south and facilities were destroyed to prevent their use by Chinese and North Korean forces.
UN Forces resumed the offensive again in late January 1951 and launched Operation Thunderbolt on 25 January with the aim of pushing Chinese and North Korean forces back north of the Han River. By 10 February 1951, UN forces once again had control of Gimpo.:293
USAF units based at Gimpo (Kimpo) included:
Other UN units based at Gimpo (Kimpo) included:
Wreckage of a C-54 destroyed on the ground by KPAF fighters on 25 June 1950
Captured KPAF Ilyushin Il-10, 21 September 1950
Following the construction of Gimpo, Yeouido Airport was totally demolished. It soon became the main airport of Seoul and South Korea in general. In 1971, a new combined domestic and international terminal was opened. However, following the opening of Terminal 1 in 1977, the original terminal was converted to domestic flights only. Later, Terminal 2 was opened due to the Olympic Games.
However, Gimpo began to take more flights than it is capable of handling. Since 1980, Gimpo met a lot of problems, due to its lack of space to expand. A major problem is that it has a curfew, which means arrivals and departures are strictly prohibited during the night.
Due to these problems, the South Korean government decided to build a new airport. It was actually planned in Cheongju, 124 kilometres away from Seoul, but it was strongly opposed by Seoul and Gyeonggi Province citizens due to its inconvenience (it would be farther away than Viracopos Airport in Campinas, Brazil, which is approximately 80 kilometres away from the city of São Paulo). Finally, the new site was decided to be nearby Yeongjong Island, a part of Incheon. This was later known as Incheon International Airport. All international flights were moved to Incheon when it opened in 2001.
"Shuttle" flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo started in November 2003 on a charter basis, cutting 30 minutes or more of ground transportation at each end in an attempt to attract business travelers. This "city to city" route was followed by new routes to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai starting in October 2007,Kansai Airport in Osaka starting in 2008,Beijing starting in July 2011, and Songshan Airport in Taipei starting in April 2012. Total international passenger numbers at Gimpo rose from under one million in 2005 to over four million by 2012.
Korea Airports announced an expansion and remodeling of the terminals in 2013, adding new gates and security checkpoints. In 2017, the Korean government announced that a new terminal would be built to meet growing domestic traffic.
Gimpo currently has two runways (3600 m × 45 m & 3200 m × 60 m), two passenger terminals, and one cargo terminal.
|Air Busan||Busan, Jeju, Ulsan|
|All Nippon Airways||Tokyo-Haneda|
|Asiana Airlines||Beijing-Capital, Gwangju, Jeju, Osaka-Kansai, Shanghai-Hongqiao, Tokyo-Haneda, Yeosu|
|China Eastern Airlines||Shanghai-Hongqiao|
|China Southern Airlines||Beijing-Capital|
|Eastar Jet||Busan, Jeju, Taipei-Songshan|
|Jeju Air||Busan, Jeju, Osaka-Kansai|
|Korean Air||Beijing-Capital, Busan, Jeju, Osaka-Kansai, Sacheon, Shanghai-Hongqiao, Tokyo-Haneda, Ulsan, Yeosu|
|T'way Air||Jeju, Taipei-Songshan|
In 2016, the ten carriers with the largest percentage of passengers flying into, out of, or through Gimpo International Airport are as follows:
|8||All Nippon Airways||424,542||424,542||1.70%|
|10||China Eastern Airlines||194,044||194,044||0.77%|
The Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (ARAIB) has its FDR/CVR Analysis and Wreckage Laboratory on the property of the airport. When the predecessor agency Korea Aviation Accident Investigation Board (KAIB) existed, its CVR/FDR and wreckage laboratory was located on the airport property.
On 23 March 2007 the AREX airport express line started operations to Incheon International Airport, with an extension to Seoul Station which opened in December 2010. Seoul Subway Line 9 also links the airport to the Gangnam area.
From Gimpo International Airport, you could go to Incheon International Airport by Incheon International Airport Expressway via Gimpo Airport Interchange.