The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and the Korea Airports Corporation are finally ready to solve the problem of local "ghost airports." They decided to take action only after the Board of Audit and Inspection released the results of an audit of the white elephants Wednesday.
The watchdog told the ministry and KAC to suspend operation of Yangyang Airport in Gangwon Province until they come up with a plan to make the most of it; consider merging Muan Airport in South Jeolla Province with Gwangju Airport; and reexamine projects to expand Ulsan Airport and renovate facilities at Sacheon Airport, both in South Gyeongsang Province.
Chung Il-young, assistant minister of aviation policy, said, "The government will reach a decision on the fate of Yangyang Airport by year-end after reviewing KAC research to be released in November and the credentials of airlines which want to use the airport."
Discussions on merging Gwangju and Muan airports will likely gain speed, but local governments in South Jeolla Province and Gwangju are expected to put up a fight.
The government will look at offering domestic users of Gwangju Airport alternative means of transport such as the bullet train before making a final decision to transfer its domestic flight services to Muan Airport, Chung added.