It has been confirmed that Ulleung Airport, which has already completed about 30% of its construction with the goal of opening in 2025, is pursuing design changes again. It was designed for a 50-seat small aircraft, of which there is no such aircraft in Korea, but due to aviation market conditions, it is necessary to deploy larger aircraft, so the runway needs to be expanded further.
According to this newspaper’s coverage on the 4th, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and others are currently considering the launch of the ‘ ATR 72’ and ‘ E190-E2’ aircraft, which can accommodate up to 80 people, to Ulleungdo. However, the airport currently under construction is large enough for 50-seat aircraft such as the smaller ‘ ATR 42’ or ‘ DHC-8-300 ( Q300 )’ to take off and land (class 2C). In the aviation industry, aircraft that can seat less than 50 people are not economically feasible, so no one currently owns one or plans to introduce one. The Q300 was even discontinued in 2009.
The government previously conducted a preliminary feasibility study based on a 2C-class airport in 2013. If construction is completed like this, there is a high possibility that it will become a ‘ghost airport’ where airlines do not operate flights.
The government, which belatedly realized the situation, decided to change the design to expand the safety areas (landing pads) on both sides of the runway to meet airport standards for takeoff and landing of 80-seat aircraft. Accordingly, the total project cost is expected to be at least several billion won, or at most tens of billions of won, more than the current 665.1 billion won.
Ulleung Airport landing strip width 80→140→150m… Project cost 90 billion+α added
It is pointed out that the reason why another design change was inevitable for Ulleung Airport two years before its opening is because the basic plan was finalized without sufficiently considering the aviation market situation. Ulleung Airport’s total project cost has increased by about 90 billion won compared to when the plan was finalized 10 years ago, as design changes have been made several times in the past to increase the length of the runway and the width of the safety zone.
According to the aviation industry on the 4th, aircraft are divided into classes based on the minimum distance for takeoff and wingspan. France’s ATR ‘s ‘ ATR 72’ and Brazil’s Embraer’s ‘ E190-E2’ aircraft, which the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is currently considering for possible service at Ulleung Airport, have a minimum takeoff distance of over 1,200m and a wingspan of 24 to 36m, making them ‘3C’ aircraft. Categorized by grade. In accordance with the ‘Airport/airfield facility and takeoff and landing site installation standards’, the airport must also be constructed in accordance with the 3C grade.
Ulleung Airport is currently building a landing pad (safety area installed on both sides of the runway) around the 1,200m runway. A 60m long landing pad is being built at both ends of the runway, and a 140m wide landing pad is being built along the runway. The planned runway operation is an ‘instrument runway’ (precision approach flight) that allows takeoff and landing with the help of various navigation facilities.
However, to become a 3C grade airport, a landing strip with an instrument runway width of 280 m or more is required. A longitudinal safety zone of at least 90m (240m recommended) must be installed at the end of the landing pad. This means that both the width and length of the landing pad must be more than twice the size of the current Ulleung Airport.
Ulleung Airport is being built by reclaiming land from the sea. Increasing메이저놀이터 the width of the landing strip and runway ends may require additional land reclamation. If the project cost adjustment increases beyond a certain level, there is a possibility that a preliminary feasibility study will be conducted again.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport is also considering changing the runway operation grade from instrument runway to ‘non-instrument runway’ (visual flight) to enable takeoff and landing of class 3C aircraft while minimizing project costs. Visible flight is a method in which the pilot flies while checking terrain features on the ground with his own eyes. Based on the non-instrument runway standard, the width of the landing strip only needs to be increased by 10m from the current 140m to 150m. An official from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said, “Currently, changing the design to a visual flight method is the most realistic alternative,” and added, “Only when an accurate design change plan comes out can we know the amount of additional costs.”
The problem is that if you change to visual flight, takeoff and landing may become difficult in bad weather, fog, or at night. Compared to instrument flight, which allows precise takeoff and landing with the help of machines, visual flight is evaluated as being relatively less safe. Currently, there is no airport in Korea that operates under visual flight. A resident near Ulleung Airport said, “When there is sea fog on Ulleungdo, you can’t see ahead to the point where you might mistake it for a fire. I wonder if it will be possible to operate an airplane relying on human eyes,” and added, “If the design is changed again now, won’t the construction period be further extended?” “I’m also worried,” he said.
This is not the first time that the design of Ulleung Airport has been changed. In November 2010, Ulleung Airport underwent a preliminary feasibility study with a runway of 1,200 m and a landing strip width of 150 m, but it did not pass. Afterwards, in order to reduce project costs, the runway length was revised to 1,100m and the landing strip width was revised to 80m, and the preliminary feasibility study was passed in March 2013. As safety issues arose, the runway length was returned to 1,200 m in the basic airport development plan announced in November 2015. In May 2019, the total project cost increased by KRW 87.8 billion from KRW 575.5 billion to KRW 663.3 billion, and the width of the landing strip was restored to 140 m. If the landing pad width is widened again to 150m, the final design will be almost the same as in 2010, when it did not pass the pre-taping.
An aviation industry official emphasized, “We have become a ‘tattered airport’ whose plans are constantly being revised due to short-sighted airport policies,” and added, “We need to reexamine airport safety and efficiency.”