South Korea's Incheon airport is wooing Thai passengers to its award-winning facility, particularly for connecting flights to the US, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and East Asia.
Futuristic looks: South Korea’s award-winning Incheon airport wants to attract more transfer passenger traffic, with an immediate goal of 10 million in 2015, up from 6.8 million last year. Total passenger traffic in 2012 was 39 million.
Thailand is among the featured countries in a marketing offensive by the state-owned Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) to draw transfer passengers, a move aimed at boosting Incheon's hub position in East Asia.
Recent roadshows in Bangkok and Jakarta underscore Incheon's bid to emulate the success of Singapore and Hong Kong as major Asian transfer hubs.
IIAC is gearing up to attract more transfer passengers and boost overall traffic through Incheon, which last year handled 39 million passengers, up from 35.1 million in 2011 and 33.5 million in 2010.
In 2012, Incheon processed 6.8 million passengers with connecting flights or 17.4% of overall passengers, raising the cumulative transfer passenger tally from 2001 to May of this year to 50 million.
The immediate plan is to raise the number of transfer passengers to 10 million a year starting in 2015, accounting for roughly a fourth of combined passenger throughput, according to W.S Park, deputy director for aviation marketing at Incheon.
By promoting itself as an intermediate hub for air travel between Thailand and US destinations, Incheon is competing with Japan's Narita airport, where most passengers departing from Thailand transfer to connecting flights to the US.
Branding itself a "Gateway to the World", Incheon is served by 91 airlines connecting 180 destinations in 56 countries.
It links 24 cities in the US and 15 in the CIS, which includes Russia and several former Soviet republics.
IIAC feels the superior transfer amenities and services at Incheon such as a 70-minute minimum connecting time extensive shopping area, ice-skating rink, cinema, K-Pop Star Zone, free showers, daily Korean cultural events and free external tours starting this month may not be well known to travellers.
Incheon was rated the world's best in airport service quality by the Airport Council International for eight straight years to 2012.
"We think Incheon could let transit passengers experience more things," said Cho Hee-young, assistant manager for aviation marketing.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business