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Gimpo Airport

Gimpo International Airport

Gimpo Gukje Gonghang
Kimp'o Kukche Konghang
Domestic Terminal
WMO: 47110
Airport type Public
Operator Korea Airports Corporation
Serves Seoul
Location Gangseo District, Seoul, South Korea
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 58 ft / 18 m
Coordinates 37°33′29″N 126°47′26″E / 37.55806°N 126.79056°E / 37.55806; 126.79056Coordinates: 37°33′29″N 126°47′26″E / 37.55806°N 126.79056°E / 37.55806; 126.79056

Website [1]
Location in South Korea
Direction Length Surface
ft m
14R/32L 10,499 3,200 Asphalt
14L/32R 11,811 3,600 Concrete
Statistics (2012)
Aircraft movements 100,124
Passengers 19,424,032
Tonnes of cargo 248,736
Statistics from KAC[2]

Gimpo International Airport (Korean: 김포국제공항), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMPICAO: 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. It was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before being replaced by Incheon International Airport in 2001. It is now the second largest airport in Korea after Incheon International Airport. In 2011, 18,513,927 passengers used the airport.

Airlines and destinations

Gimpo Airport primarily serves domestic and limited international flights to Japan, Taiwan, and China.

Traffic and statistics

Top Carriers

In 2012, the ten carriers with the largest percentage of passengers flying into, out of, or through Gimpo International Airport are as follows:

Top Carriers (2012)
Rank Carrier Domestic
Total  %
1 South Korea Korean Air 4,876,772 1,189,804 6,066,576 31.22%
2 South Korea Asiana Airlines 3,202,570 1,004,217 4,206,787 21.65%
3 South Korea Jeju Air 1,584,560 213,353 1,797,913 9.25%
4 South Korea T'way Airlines 1,576,329 27,536 1,603,865 8.25%
5 South Korea Jin Air 1,529,612 224 1,529,836 7.87%
6 South Korea Eastar Jet 1,364,448 18,895 1,383,343 7.12%
7 South Korea Air Busan 1,200,356 1,200,356 6.18%
8 Japan Japan Airlines 655,035 655,035 3.37%
9 Japan All Nippon Airways 545,250 545,250 2.81%
10 China Shanghai Airlines 101,240 101,240 0.52%

Other facilities

The Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (ARAIB) has its FDR/CVR Analysis and Wreckage Laboratory on the property of Gimpo International Airport.[3] When the predecessor agency Korea Aviation Accident Investigation Board (KAIB) existed, its CVR/FDR and wreckage laboratory was located on the airport property.[4]


The airfield was originally constructed in 1939-1942 during the Japanese Imperial period.

Korean War

Kimpo played a major role during the Korean War, the USAF designated the airfield as Kimpo Air Base or K-14.

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 Kimpo. 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.[5] 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.[6] Later that day four F-80Cs of the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron shot down four Ilyushin Il-10s for no losses over Kimpo in the USAF's first jet-aircraft victory.[5]

Kimpo 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 Kimpo and the Seoul railyards.[5] By July the KPAF were using the base for attacks on UN forces, on July 10, seven Yak-7s were hidden at Kimpo and used in strikes against UN positions at Cheongju. The next day they surprised and damaged several F-80s in the area. On July 15 the US launched an attack on Kimpo, destroying two or three of the seven Yak-7s there and damaging the runway.[7] On 5 August 5th Air Force fighters strafed and bombed Kimpo destroying 9 aircraft and damaging 9 others.[8]

Following the Inchon landings on 15 September 1950, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines was ordered to seize Kimpo on 17 September.[9] Kimpo 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.[10] 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 Kimpo 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 Kimpo and covering it with Marsden Matting.[11] On 6 October the USAF took control of Kimpo from the USMC.[5]

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 Kimpo 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 Kimpo.[12]

USAF units based at Kimpo included:

UN units based at Kimpo included:

On 21 September 1953 North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok defected in his MiG-15 landing at Kimpo.


In 1958 Kimpo was designated as the international airport of the South Korean capital city and has grown into a much more significant airport that is capable of handling 226,000 flights a year. The airport had one domestic and two international terminals before its international function was replaced by Incheon International Airport. Gimpo currently has two runways (3600 m×45 m & 3200 m×60 m), two passenger terminals, and one cargo terminal.

The airport is located south of the Han River in western Seoul. (The name "Gimpo" comes from the nearby city of Gimpo, of which the airport used to be a part.)

On November 29, 2003, scheduled services between Gimpo and Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) in Tokyo, Japan began. Services to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport started on October 28, 2007. Services to Kansai International Airport In Osaka, Japan started on October 26, 2008. Services to Beijing Capital International Airport started on July 1, 2011.[13]

Airlines that formerly served Gimpo but no longer fly to Korea are listed: Air New Zealand, Alitalia, Ansett Australia (ceased operation), Continental Airlines (merged into United), Iberia Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Lauda Air (merged into Austrian Airlines), Qantas (now cargo only), Saudia, Swissair (ceased operation), VASP (ceased operation).

Accidents and incidents

  • On April 20, 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 November 19, 1980, a Korean Air Lines 747 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.[14]

Ground Transportation


For many years, the airport was served by the Gimpo Line, a railway line that no longer exists. In the 1990s, Seoul Subway Line 5 was extended to Gimpo. On March 23, 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 opened which links the airport to the Gangnam area.

See also

Korea portal
Aviation portal


External links

  • Gimpo Airport
  • Airport information for RKSS at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
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