Gimpo International Airport

Gimpo International Airport (Korean김포국제공항; Hanja金浦國際空港), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, SEL, ICAO: RKSS), formerly rendered in English as 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. It now functions as Seoul's secondary airport. 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.

Gimpo International Airport


Gimpo Gukje Gonghang
RKSS Domestic.jpg
Domestic terminal (before refurbishment)
Airport typePublic
OwnerMinistry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
OperatorKorea Airports Corporation
ServesSeoul Capital Area
LocationGangseo District, Seoul, South Korea
Opened27 January 1958 (1958-01-27)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL18 m / 58 ft
Coordinates37°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
Seoul in South Korea
Seoul in South Korea
GMP /RKSS is located in Seoul
Location in Seoul
GMP /RKSS is located in South Korea
Location in South Korea
Direction Length Surface
m ft
14R/32L 3,200 10,499 Asphalt
14L/32R 3,600 11,811 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Total passengers25,448,416
Aircraft movements140,422
Tonnes of cargo253,395
Statistics from KAC[1]
Gimpo International Airport
Revised RomanizationGimpo Gukje Gonghang
McCune–ReischauerKimp'o Kukche Konghang

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 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.[2] Services to Taipei Songshan Airport started on 30 April 2012.[3]


The airfield was originally constructed in 1935–1942 during the Japanese Imperial period as an Imperial Army base. The runways were built on a bed of rocks manually hauled by Korean laborers from Kaihwasan and Yangchan, several miles from the base.[4] Then known as Keijo New Airfield (京城新飛行場), Kimpo was constructed with four runways to supplement the much smaller Keijo Airfield (京城飛行場), which was later known as Yeouido Airport.[5]

Korean WarEdit

Gimpo played a major role during the Korean War, and the USAF designated the airfield as Kimpo Air Base or K-14.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[7]

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.[7] 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.[9] On 5 August 5th Air Force fighters strafed and bombed Gimpo, destroying 9 aircraft and damaging 9 others.[9]: 102 

Following the Inchon landings on 15 September 1950, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines was ordered to seize Gimpo on 17 September.[10] 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.[10]: 61  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 Marston Matting.[9]: 178–9  On 6 October the USAF took control of Gimpo from the USMC.[7]

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.[9]: 293 

USAF units based at Gimpo (Kimpo) included:

Other UN units based at Gimpo (Kimpo) included:

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

International eraEdit

Map, c. 2014
International terminal

In 1958, the airport was redesignated as the Gimpo international airport of Seoul by a presidential decree, completely replacing the existing Yeouido Airport.[11]

Following the construction of Gimpo, Yeouido Airport was demolished. Gimpo soon became the main airport of Seoul, and of South Korea in general. In 1971, a new, combined domestic and international terminal was opened. However, following the opening of what was known as Terminal 1 in 1977, the original combined terminal was converted to domestic flights only. Later, Terminal 2 was opened due to the Olympic Games.

Gradually, Gimpo began to have more flights than it was capable of handling. After about 1980, it experienced numerous problems due to its lack of space for expansion. An additional problem was South Korea's overnight curfew (midnight to 4 a.m.), a security measure that was in effect for decades. The curfew, which severely limited the airport's night-time operations, was finally abolished in 1982.

Eventually, the South Korean government decided to build a new airport. The facility was initially planned to be in Cheongju, 124 kilometres away from Seoul, but that idea was strongly opposed by the citizens of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, due to the inconvenience it would pose to them. (It would have been farther from Seoul than the 80-kilometre distance between Viracopos Airport in Campinas, Brazil, and the city of São Paulo.) Finally, Yeongjong Island, a part of the city of Incheon, slightly west of Seoul, was chosen for the new airport, which later came to be known as Incheon International Airport. All international flights were moved to Incheon when it opened in 2001.[12]

Post-Incheon-activation eraEdit

"Shuttle" flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo started in November 2003 on a charter basis, cutting 30 minutes or more of ground transportation at each end in an attempt to attract business travelers.[13] This "city to city" route was followed by new routes to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai starting in October 2007,[14] Kansai Airport in Osaka starting in 2008,[12] Beijing starting in July 2011,[15] and Songshan Airport in Taipei starting in April 2012.[16] Total international passenger numbers at Gimpo rose from under one million in 2005 to over four million by 2012.[12]

Korea Airports announced an expansion and remodeling of the terminals in 2013, adding new gates and security checkpoints.[17] In 2017, the South Korean government announced that a new terminal would be built to meet growing domestic traffic.[18]

Gimpo currently has two runways (3600 m × 45 m & 3200 m × 60 m), two passenger terminals, and one cargo terminal.[needs update]

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Air Busan Busan, Jeju, Ulsan
Air China Beijing–Capital
Air Seoul Busan,[19] Jeju[20]
All Nippon Airways Tokyo–Haneda
Asiana Airlines Beijing–Capital, Gwangju, Jeju, Osaka–Kansai, Shanghai–Hongqiao, Tokyo–Haneda, Yeosu
China Airlines Taipei–Songshan
China Eastern Airlines Shanghai–Hongqiao
China Southern Airlines Beijing–Daxing
EVA Air Taipei–Songshan
Fly Gangwon Yangyang[21][22]
Hi Air Jeju, Muan, Sacheon, Ulsan
Japan Airlines Tokyo–Haneda
Jeju Air Busan, Jeju, Osaka–Kansai, Yeosu[23]
Jin Air Busan,[24] Gwangju,[24] Jeju, Pohang–Gyeongju,[25] Sacheon,[26] Ulsan,[27] Yeosu[28]
Korean Air Beijing–Capital, Busan, Jeju, Osaka–Kansai, Shanghai–Hongqiao, Tokyo–Haneda, Ulsan
Shanghai Airlines Shanghai–Hongqiao
T'way Air Busan,[29] Jeju, Taipei–Songshan


Top carriersEdit

Domestic departure terminal before refurbishment
International departure terminal
International departure terminal

In 2016, the ten carriers with the largest percentage of passengers flying into, out of, or through Gimpo International Airport are as follows:

Top carriers (2016)
Rank Carrier Domestic
Total %
1 Korean Air 5,215,514 1,220,978 6,436,492 25.70%
2 Asiana Airlines 4,088,721 1,123,109 5,211,830 20.81%
3 Jeju Air 2,740,861 244,915 2,985,776 11.92%
4 Jin Air 2,926,195 2,926,195 11.68%
5 Eastar Jet 1,956,905 54,663 2,011,568 8.03%
6 Air Busan 1,987,427 866 1,988,293 7.94%
7 T'way Airlines 1,787,123 70,992 1,858,115 7.42%
8 All Nippon Airways 424,542 424,542 1.70%
9 Japan Airlines 388,466 388,466 1.55%
10 China Eastern Airlines 194,044 194,044 0.77%

Traffic by calendar yearEdit

Annual passenger traffic at GMP airport. See Wikidata query.
Traffic by calendar year
Passenger volume Aircraft operations Cargo tonnage
2001 22,041,099 154,164 708,073
2002 17,092,095 128,428 302,240
2003 16,880,641 126,343 290,731
2004 7,674,153 52,212 175,850
2005 13,448,152 94,787 272,304
2006 13,766,523 94,943 274,368
2007 13,811,004 100,124 248,736
2008 14,264,693 108,015 203,977
2009 15,369,944 115,895 230,115
2010 17,565,901 118,514 226,493
2011 18,513,927 126,115 260,135
2012 19,429,224 130,269 254,563
2013 19,904,327 134,623 246,227
2014 21,566,946 138,706 271,990
2015 23,163,778 142,863 271,066
2016 25,043,299 146,266 274,712
2017 25,101,147 145,507 266,428
2018 24,602,588 141,080 267,266
2019 25,448,416 140,422 253,395
2020 17,446,239 113,580 142,380
Source: Korea Airports Corporation Traffic Statistics[30]

Other facilitiesEdit

Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) has its headquarters on the airport property.[31]

The Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board (ARAIB) has its FDR/CVR Analysis and Wreckage Laboratory on the property of the airport.[32] When the predecessor agency Korea Aviation Accident Investigation Board (KAIB) existed, its CVR/FDR and wreckage laboratory was located on the airport property.[33]

Ground transportationEdit


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.

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 Airport.


Gimpo International Airport is connected to Incheon International Airport by Incheon International Airport Expressway via Gimpo Airport Interchange.

Some others road also linked Gimpo Airport with Seoul and nearby province including National Route 39, National Route 48, Olympic-daero and Seoul City Route 92 (Nambu Beltway).

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 19 November 1980, Korean Air Lines Flight 015, a Boeing 747-200 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.[34]
  • 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 6 days later.[35]
  • On 25 November 1989, Korean Air Flight 175, a Fokker F28-4000 en route to Gangneung Airport stalled and crashed right after takeoff, killing one person and wounding 40 people.[36]
  • On 5 August 1998, Korean Air Flight 8702, a Boeing 747-400 rolled off the runway upon touchdown and slid into a ditch, resulting in the destruction of the aircraft's undercarriage and the fuselage being split. All 395 of the total occupants survived and the aircraft was written off.[37]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "공항별 통계 : 항공통계 : 알림·홍보 : Kac 한국공항공사". Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  2. ^ Gimpo–Beijing air route to open in July Archived 23 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. South Korea News (26 April 2011). Retrieved on 12 July 2013.
  3. ^ Songshan to begin direct flights to Gimpo in Seoul. Taipei Times (30 April 2012). Retrieved on 6 March 2015.
  4. ^ "History of K-14, Kimpo air base, South Korea". Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  5. ^ "朝鮮半島の旧陸海軍航空基地". (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 September 2018. 京城飛行場の西北西約11kmの京畿道金浦郡陽西面に置かれ通称 金浦飛行場 と呼ばれた航空基地で、京城飛行場が手狭のため昭和14年に旧陸軍が滑走路4本を有する本格的な航空基地として建設が始まって18年には概成したとされていますが、終戦時にはNW/SEの滑走路は拡張途中であったと考えられます。
  6. ^ "K-Bases in Korea". National Museum of the US Air Force. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "History Milestones Sunday, January 01, 1950 – Thursday, December 31, 1959". U.S. Air Force. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Valor Awards for James Walter Little". Gannett Company. 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2013.(From the Lavochkin LA-71 page 'Despite reports to the contrary, no La-7s were ever sold or transferred to the People's Republic of China or North Korea. Such reports arose from misidentification by Western pilots of the La-9s or La-11s that were given to those countries.[15])
  9. ^ a b c d Futrell, Robert F. (1997). The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950–1953 (PDF). United States Government Printing Office. pp. 99–101. ISBN 9780160488795.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ a b Hoyt, Edwin P. (1984). On to the Yalu. Stein and Day. p. 58. ISBN 0812829778.
  11. ^ "Airport Introduction". Korea Airports Corporation. 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Seoul Gimpo Airport growing by 7% in 2015 despite MERS". 19 October 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Haneda to Gimpo route to give duty free boost in Japan and South Korea and drive business traffic - The Moodie Davitt Report". The Moodie Davitt Report. 7 November 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Shanghai Hongqiao – Seoul Gimpo takes off 28OCT07". Routesonline. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Gimpo-Beijing Flights to Start in July". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Songshan to begin direct flights to Gimpo in Seoul - Taipei Times". Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Gimpo Airport to get 250 billion won upgrade". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  18. ^ "S. Korea to build new terminal at Gimpo Airport by 2025". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Air Seoul adds Seoul Gimpo – Busan service from late-August 2020". Routesonline. 29 July 2020.
  20. ^ "에어서울, 일본발 악재에 '국내선' 유턴" (in Korean). 30 August 2019.
  21. ^ Liu, Jim. "FlyGangwon adds Seoul Gimpo service in 3Q20". Routesonline. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  22. ^ "플라이강원, 7월 20일부터 양양∼김포 노선 운항" [Fly Gangwon, Yangyang-Gimpo route from July 20] (in Korean). Yonhap News Agency. 30 May 2022.
  23. ^ Liu, Jim. "Jeju Air adds Yeosu service in 2Q20". Routesonline. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  24. ^ a b Liu, Jim. "Jin Air adds new domestic routes in 2Q20". Routesonline. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  25. ^ "포항~김포, 포항~제주 노선 진에어 31일 취항" (in Korean). Yonhap News Agency. 16 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Jin Air to Open Sacheon-Gimpo Route From January 28". Haps Magazine Korea. 6 January 2022.
  27. ^ "진에어, 국내선 또 늘린다...31일부터 김포~대구 등 3개 취항" (in Korean). Yonhap News Agency. 16 July 2020.
  28. ^ "진에어, 김포~여수·여수~제주 노선 신규 취항" (in Korean). YTN News. 3 June 2020.
  29. ^ Liu, Jim. "T'Way Air adds Seoul Gimpo – Busan service in 2Q20". Routesonline. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  30. ^ "KAC 한국공항공사".
  31. ^ "Directions" (see enclosed map). Korea Airports Corporation. Retrieved on June 22, 2017. "07505 Korea Airports Corporation∥78 Haneul-gil Gangseo-gu, SEOUL" - Directions and address in Korean: "07505 서울 강서구 하늘길 78 한국공항공사 [ 전화번호 1661-2626 ]"
  32. ^ "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"
  33. ^ "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."
  34. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-2B5B HL7445 Seoul-Gimpo (Kimpo) International Airport (SEL)".
  35. ^ "5 DEAD, 36 HURT IN AN EXPLOSION AT SEOUL AIRPORT". New York Times. 15 September 1968. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  36. ^ "KAL기 이륙순간 추락 폭발". Dong-A Ilbo. 25 November 1989. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  37. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-4B5 HL7496 Seoul-Gimpo (Kimpo) International Airport (SEL)".

External linksEdit