Saturday, February 26, 2011

Korea's high speed rail kills several airports

Eleven of the 14 airports managed by the Korean Airports Corporation lost money in 2009 and 2008. Several are ghost airports with no regular flights. Still more developments were suspended and never completed.

KAC is now trying to sell these loss-making airports, according to JoongAng Daily, putting Cheongju Airport on the market after it lost $5.1 million in 2009.

How did South Korea end up with all of these useless airports?

First, local governments keep building giant infrastructure projects, including empty airports and empty office buildings.

Second, airports can't compete with the new high-speed rail network, which travels from one end of the country to the other in less than three hours.

This story should terrify airlines (and automakers) everywhere. And you wonder why high-speed rail gets blocked in America.
Because of the long distance nature of many of the flights, it's rather unlikely that you would see the same effect upon American or even simply Californian airports, but this does show that high speed rail will dominate the short distance regional market. In turn, this will free us from the need to add capacity or build additional airports at tremendous expense and cut down on pollution, through which we prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs.

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