Gimpo International Airport
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|Gimpo International Airport
Gimpo Gukje Gonghang
|Operator||Korea Airports Corporation|
|Location||Gangseo District, Seoul, South Korea|
|Elevation AMSL||58 ft / 18 m|
Statistics from KAC
Gimpo International Airport (Korean: 김포국제공항 [kimpʰoɡuktɕ͈eɡoŋhaŋ]), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, 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. 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 1939–1942 during the Japanese Imperial period.
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.
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. 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 Marsden Matting. 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.
USAF units based at Gimpo (Kimpo) included:
- 4th Fighter Wing operating F-86s from 23 August 1951 to 1 October 1954, subordinate units included:
- 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing from 25 June to 23 August 1951
- 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing from 10 October 1950 to 10 December 1950, subordinate units included:
- 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group from 20 August 1951 to 6 December 1954, subordinate units included:
- 68th Fighter Squadron operating F-82s from 30 November 1950 to March 1951 and from 27 June to 24 August 1951
- 80th Fighter Squadron operating P-51s from 27 October to 20 December 1950
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
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In 1958, Gimpo was designated as the international airport of the South Korean capital city, replacing the existing Yeouido Airport. Since the opening of Gimpo, Yeouido Airport was totally demolished. It soon became the main airport of Seoul and the entire South Korea. In 1971 the new terminal was opened as both domestic and international, but as opening of Terminal 1 in 1977, the original terminal was converted as domestic. Later, Terminal 2 was opened due to the olympics.
However, it has grown into a much more significant airport that is capable of handling 226,000 flights a year. Since 1980, Gimpo met a lot of problems, due to its over handling and lack of spaces to expand. It was one of the most problem that it has curfew, which means arrival and departure are strictly prohibited during the mornight.
Due to these problems, the government made a new plan to build a new airport. It was actually planned in Cheongju, 124 km far from Seoul, but it was strongly opposed by Seoul and Gyeonggi citizens due to its inconvenience(it is more far than Viracopos Airport in Campinas, Brazil,approximately 100 km far from the city). Finally the new site was decided nearby Yeongjong Island, a part of Incheon. This was later known as Incheon International Airport. When Incheon was opened in 2001, all international flights were moved to Incheon(new airport) and only served domestic flights.
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However, due to the lack of airlines, a flight to Haneda Airport in Tokyo was started in 2003. From that, Gimpo returned as international airport. Since then, several international flights in neighbour countries were added and currently it normally served particular international airlines especially to nearby countries.
Since all 3 terminals were outdated, there's a masterplan to refurbish them. It is deemed to be completed by 2017.
Gimpo currently has two runways (3600 m × 45 m & 3200 m × 60 m), two passenger terminals, and one cargo terminal.
Airlines and destinations
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.
Accidents and incidents
- On 11 December 1969, North Korean agent Cho Ch'ang-hǔi hijacked a Korean Air Lines YS-11 flying from Gangneung Airbase in Gangneung, Gangwon-do to Gimpo International Airport in Seoul. It was carrying four crewmembers and 46 passengers (excluding Cho); 39 of the passengers were returned two months later, but the crew and seven passengers remained in North Korea. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair on landing.
- On 20 April 1978, Korean Air Lines Flight 902 a Boeing 707 was shot down by the Soviet Air Force while flying from Paris, France to Anchorage, Alaska and continuing to Gimpo Airport. Two passengers were killed in the explosive decompression and the flight was able to land on a frozen lake where the remaining passengers and crew were transported to safety and then flown out of the Soviet Union back to South Korea
- On 19 November 1980, Korean Air Lines Flight 015 landed short of the runway, ripping off all main landing gear, causing the aircraft to skid to a stop on the nose wheel and outer 2 engines starting a fire. 15 of the 226 total occupants were killed, including the First Officer and Captain.
- On 1 September 1983, Korean Air Lines 007 (a Boeing 747) bound for Seoul from New York City via Anchorage was shot down by a Soviet interceptor jet after pilot error drifted the plane into a restricted soviet air space, all passengers and crew on board were killed as the plane plummeted into the Sea of Japan and escalated tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States.
- On 14 September 1986, A bomb blast occurred outside a terminal building, killing five people and wounding 36. The attack was blamed on North Korea as an attempt to disrupt the 1986 Asian Games starting 5 days later.
- Gimpo International Airport. Airport.co.kr. Retrieved on 24 August 2013.
- Gimpo–Beijing air route to open in July. South Korea News (26 April 2011). Retrieved on 12 July 2013.
- Songshan to begin direct flights to Gimpo in Seoul. Taipei Times (30 April 2012). Retrieved on 6 March 2015.
- Photo from collection of LTC (USAF Ret) Harvey W. Gipple
- "History Milestones Sunday, January 01, 1950 – Thursday, December 31, 1959". U.S. Air Force. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013.
- "Valor Awards for James Walter Little". Gannett Company. 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Futrell, Robert F. (1997). The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950–1953. United States Government Printing Office. pp. 99–101. ISBN 9780160488795.
- Futrell, p. 102
- Hoyt, Edwin P. (1984). On to the Yalu. Stein and Day. p. 58. ISBN 0812829778.
- Hoyt, p.61
- Futrell, pp. 178–9
- Futrell, p. 293
- "Office Location." (Archive) Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board. Retrieved on 15 February 2012. "CVR/FDR analysis and wreckage laboratory : Gimpo International Airport 274 Gwahae-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Korea 157–711"
- "KAIB/AAR F0201." Korea Aviation Accident Investigation Board. 4/168. Retrieved on 18 June 2009. "The main office is located near Gimpo International Airport, and the flight recorder analysis and wreckage laboratories are located inside the airport."
- Aircraft accident Boeing 747-2B5B HL7445 Seoul–Gimpo (Kimpo) International Airport
- "5 DEAD, 36 HURT IN AN EXPLOSION AT SEOUL AIRPORT". New York Times. 15 September 1968. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Air Force website http://www.af.mil.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
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