Airport Will Be New Hub

IF China and Russia ever emerge as economic giants, which city would be ideally located to serve as an airline transit hub for Asia?Eager South Korea already has plans for a mega-airport on a shallow bay about 35 miles west of Seoul. The final go-ahead for construction will be given in 1992, but the scheme is on the drawing boards with a price tag of $5 billion for the first two runways by 1997, and two more runways possible. If fully built by 2020, it would handle 100 million passengers a year, with an estimated one-third of them just in transit. Seoul's present airport, Kimpo, handled about 25 million passengers last year. Although a second runway was added in 1988 for the Olympics, Kimpo will operate above its capacity by 1995. "There's a great chance that Seoul will become the airport center of Asia," says Shim Hyieg Yun, director of engineering for the project.

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