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Since its opening in 2001, Incheon International Airport (IIA) has grown into one of the world’s top-tier airports in all aspects of airport operation, service and logistics by improving stability and efficiency of operation.

Following the grand Phase 2 opening in 2008, IIA has airport linking more than 170 cities in 60 countries around the world, with passenger turnover of 44 million persons and cargo throughput of 4.5 million tons a year.

Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), specialized in airport construction and operation, won an urban Maglev pilot line project envisioned as one of the government-funded R&D projects in 2007 to deliver a differentiated and environment-friendly transport service.

Government funded development of maglev technology started in the late 80s and the Incheon line is the first trial line in the Center for Urban Maglev Program which was established in 2006.

Though maglev trains are sometimes thought of as purely high speed, the program has focused on slower speed maglev technology suitable for urban environments and general public transport.

The Incheon Urban Maglev will not only act as a way of travelling across the island but will also promote South Korea’s development in maglev technologies to other countries that have interest in building similar systems.

IIA will become home to Korea’s first commercial urban maglev train line once completed and officially begin operating in October 2013.

The trial line is only 6.1 kilometers long and travels from Incheon’s Transport Center to the Yongyoo-Muui Tourist Complex which is also under development.

The tourist complex is another large scale project being carried out by the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority and it is expected to bring an assortment of business, tourism and recreation facilities within close proximity of the airport.

Construction on the line began in 2010 after Incheon was chosen over the three other cities which made it the to final selection stage -Daejeon, Daegu and Gwangju.

Incheon was chosen for several reasons including its location next to the airport and the upcoming 2014 Asian Games which will also be held in Incheon.

Two more stages of construction are planned for the line; stage two is a 9.7km extension that continues from Yongyoo Station, past the planned Marine World and up to Dragon City.

The final stage will be significantly longer, a 37.4km extension that continues around the outer rim of the island and loop back to the airport.

Each train will be able to travel at a top speed of 110 km/h and carry up to 230 persons.

Incheon International Airport Authority will operate the unmanned system using their experience from the Intra Airport Transit (IAT), the airports unmanned transport system which travels underground between terminals.

The Maglev line plays a critical role in the green airport strategy of IIA and IIA will transform into a leader of global airport industry by realizing the vision of low-carbon green airport.

What is Maglev?

Magnetic levitation (maglev) is a relatively new transportation technology in which non contacting vehicles travel safely at speeds of 402 to 483 kmh (250 to 300 mph) or higher while suspended, guided, and propelled above a guideway by electromagnetic fields.

The guideway is the physical structure along which maglev vehicles are levitated.

Various guideway configurations,T-shaped, U-shaped, Y-shaped, and box-beam, made of steel, concrete, hybrid steel/concrete, or aluminum have been proposed.

Source : Kojects and The Enterprise Center

(this article written for 1BINA.my)