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When Incheon promises to do something it generally does, so it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that its giant new Terminal 2 is on schedule for completion in September 2017 as planned. 

The timing, to ensure an early 2018 opening, will actually be perfect as at the current growth rate Incheon’s existing passenger terminal and aprons will reach full capacity at the end of 2017.

Indeed, to make sure everything goes to plan, the design and construction phases have overlapped with each other since work started on the excavation of the T2 site in June, 2013.

Operator, Incheon International Airport Corporation, appointed the Heerim-Mooyoung-Gensler Consortium to design its new 72-gate terminal, which is being built in two phases to ensure that the gateway is capable of meeting rising demand until 2023 and beyond.

Upon opening in 2017, the 384,336sqm terminal will be equipped with 37 gates ensuring that it is capable of handling up to 18 million passengers per annum.

It will have its own Transportation Centre – complementing the existing facility – that will boast a train station, car parking facilities and a bus terminal.

Terminal 2 – which with future expansion will be capable of accommodating 46 million passengers annually raising Incheon’s capacity to 90mppa – is also expected to incorporate advanced sustainable technologies to create an efficient, healthy and comfortable environment.

In line with its ‘green vision’, T2 will feature an indoor garden and green spaces with natural daylight while outside it is to be surrounded by what it calls an “astonishing” green space that will include waterfalls and ponds.

The heart of the terminal will be a Great Hall, a key vertical core space created by T2 art consultant, Wilmotte & Associés, which was involved in the design process from a ‘cultural experience’ for the airport’s Terminal 1 and main Concourse. 

Incheon believes that an abundance of natural daylight into the Great Hall will create a space that passengers can rest and enjoy as well as experience special events such as concerts and shows.

Without doubt reflecting Korean culture and creating a ‘sense of place’ is very important to the airport, which insisted that both aspirations proved integral to the terminal’s design.

“A lot of effort has gone into creating a strong sense of place, in fact we designed the terminal ceilings in a way to accentuate the unique streamlined shape of the terminal from the building interior,” says a spokesman for the design team.

“Vast skylights at the Transfer Area and Q-tip areas, the ends of the wing, are integrated with the indoor green features to create a rich nature-friendly ambience to the space. 

“The check-in areas and departure corridors will also be equipped with skylights and louver ceilings to illuminate the terminal with natural light to hopefully create a dynamic and pleasant indoor environment for passengers.”

Other amenities include a landside shopping district; aircraft observation deck and family lounges.

Being ‘green’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘smart’ were also high on the list of requirements of Incheon International Airport Corporation, says Heerim Architect & Planner’s vice president and T2 project architect, Byungkoo Lee.

“We focused on the three main design concepts of green, eco and smart for Terminal 2 as we want it breath nature, meet high sustainable practices and utilise the latest state-of-art technologies for outstanding safety and convenience,” Lee tells Asia-Pacific Airports magazine.

He notes that renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaic panels and geothermal systems will provide at least 10% of the terminal’s power, making T2 one of the world’s most energy efficient terminals.

While technologies such as U-signage, Self Check-in and Self Bag Drop will definitely make it technologically smart.

Gensler agrees that the terminal will be unique in its design, easy to navigate and fun to use.

Keith Thompson, Gensler principal and leader of the firm’s global aviation design practice, says: “We designed Terminal 2 to make travel at Incheon even more compelling, offering people unprecedented ease and convenience.

“It’s a large international terminal, yet it will be very intuitive to navigate and present unique experiences like the vast interior gardens featuring native Korean foliage. Travellers will see this as a new benchmark for airports.”

What does the airport hope the new terminal will bring to Incheon orhelp it achieve?

“It will be a cornerstone of our future success as we aim to become the hub of Northeast Asia handling around 100 million passengers yearly,” says Incheon International Airport’s president and CEO, Park Wan-su.

“It also fits with our ‘airport in the park’ concept and will ensure that we continue to grow in an eco-friendly, sustainable fashion where the environment is always top of mind.”

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