North Korea is planning further infrastructure upgrades and developments at and near its international airport in Pyongyang, according to a paper issued during an aviation programme held in-country in June.
The paper was presented during the 16th Steering Committee meeting of the Cooperative Development of Operational Safety & Continuing Airworthiness Programme for North Asia (COSCAP-NA), conducted from June 15 to June 17. The paper was subsequently published on the COSCAP-NA website.
According to the documentation, North Korea plans to build a hotel and a hospital near the airport as well as undertake construction of further, parallel runways.
It also plans to connect the airport terminal building to the center of the capital, with a metro and highway link.
The paper was authored by North Korea’s General Administration of Civil Aviation (GACA) with the purpose of detailing previous construction completed at the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport. This included the construction of a new terminal, which opened on July 1 last year.
The paper identified outdated infrastructure and services as the reason for undertaking construction at the airport site.
“Not only the peak passenger traffic but also the level of airport service and aviation security system of the terminal building did not meet with the developments of the world aviation industry and the requirements of the new era,” the paper read.
It was also revealed that during some of the construction that Taekam Airport, 2Km away from the terminal building, was used to supplement air traffic needs not able to be met at the time.
The paper also revealed a level of external involvement in the construction of airport infrastructure, with international experts – facilitated by COSCAP-NA – providing training to North Koreans in Pyongyang in June and October 2014.
GACA also sent personnel involved in the design and construction of the airport to China for training in partnership with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
In the report the group also claimed that Kim Jong Un’s spot guidance contributed to the successful completion of the construction projects.
“The respected Marshal Kim Jong Un gave on the spot guidance to the airport construction site for several times and taught us valuable teachings,” the paper reads.
This included “the terminal building and the runways, taxiways and apron of the aerodrome could be designed and built in compliance with the ICAO SARPs, while reviewing more than one hundred miniatures of the terminal building.” SARP stands for Standards and Recommended Practices.
The paper claimed that Pyongyang International Airport’s annual passenger traffic is 1.5 million and provided statistical information on the facility.
“The building area is 18795 ㎡, the total floor space is 53852 ㎡, and the building area of underground park is 2490 ㎡,” it read.
Original article posted on: Hamish Macdonald for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney