Sept 3, 2013

Banking on track record toward the next 20 years: Incheon Airport's CEO

Chang-soo Jung (Photo), who assumed the position of president and CEO at Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) in June, recently talked about such matters as his aspirations for his term.

*What are your aspirations for your term as CEO?
Jung: I am happy to have been given the chance to work for Incheon Airport, which is a major gateway to South Korea. I have a deep connection with Incheon Airport, spanning back to my days at the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs. From the day that it opened in 2001, up to the announcement of the fundamental plan for the third wave of expansion at the airport, I have been involved in the construction and expansion of Incheon Airport. With the various experiences that I have amassed over the long period that I worked at the central government, the impetus in the market and my broad vision, I will strive to develop Incheon Airport.

IIAC is constantly reforming and undertaking innovative business management, and is proactively engaged in projects that have room for growth in the future, such as the development of overseas businesses and untapped regions. Our target is to turn Incheon Airport into a brand that will lead South Korea into the global market and transform it into a world-class airport. We also hope to become a best role model for major public corporations in South Korea.

*What are the environmental advantages of Incheon Airport?
Jung: We are projecting that the annual growth (in terms of cargo throughput) of the Asia-Pacific region, where Incheon Airport is located, will reach a maximum level of 6.3% by around 2020. By 2030, we expect the share of our airport to climb to about 50% of the total airfreight volume worldwide on a weight basis. Amid such projections of the business climate, we have the geographical advantage of being wedged between the economic superpowers China and Japan, which rank second and third in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), respectively. There are currently 88 airline companies that fly through Incheon Airport, with routes that are connected to 184 cities in 56 countries worldwide. We have managed to cement our position as a hub airport for passengers and cargoes with a variety of routes that are linked to the surrounding countries.

*How is the business climate in South Korea?
Jung: Just like Japan, South Korea is also faced with a slump in its economic growth these past few years. The World Bank and major institutions are as a whole projecting that the economic growth of South Korea this year will continue to be dull, with a low forecast of 2-3% growth rate. However, there are upward recoveries being seen, such as the return to the black in ordinary revenue/expenditures, so the growth rate in the first half of the year climbed higher than the same period a year earlier, contrary to projections. The Bank of Korea (BOK) has revised its growth rate forecast for this year last July to 2.8% from 2.6%.

*What are your visions for Incheon Airport in the future?
Jung: Incheon Airport opened just in 2001, so it still has a rather shallow history. However, it continues to be known as a top airport in the world. We have been reaping top awards in various major rankings in the world. But we are not satisfied with past glories and our current position, as we will prepare for the "next 20 years" armed with our 20-year track record thus far. We are thinking of that time is now. There is a famous South Korean saying that goes: The moon waxes and wanes. I strongly believe that Incheon Airport has not yet reached the "full moon" as it is still in the "waning" stage.

We will cope with the future demands in the passenger and cargo business divisions. Plans for the third phase of airport expansion have kicked off toward the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018. Meanwhile, we will also develop human services and the business environment. We think that international airports will be required to go "smart" and "green and eco" in the future. Under our plan for the third phase of airport expansion, we have introduced South Korea's cutting edge IT/BT (business technology).

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