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Overview of Cheongju Aeropolis
Cheongju Aeropolis, which is emerging as the most important cluster of the aviation industry in the central region of Korea, is located immediately adjacent to Cheongju International Airport, which makes it the best location to accommodate and support aviation companies in areas such as aviation maintenance, air transportation, logistics, aviation parts manufacturing, and R&D. Cheongju Aeropolis was designated as a free economic zone in February 2013 and will be developed as an industrial complex spanning 1,834m2 by 2025 with a total project budget of KRW 403.6 billion.
The First Zone of Cheongju Aeropolis was originally planned to be an MRO complex for large airplanes, but in consideration of the geographical strengths of the Cheongju region, the prospects of the aviation industry and the future of the mobility business, the plan was changed to develop it as a maintenance complex for rotary-wing aircrafts. Investment agreements with the three largest rotary-wing aircraft manufacturers in Korea are already underway and administrative procedures are in progress for the start of construction, including changes to the existing development plan, with construction scheduled to commence within this year.
The Second Zone is envisioned as the complex for aviation/advanced manufacturing, aviation maintenance, aviation logistics, and 16 aviation parts manufacturing, aviation maintenance, R&D, advanced manufacturing, and logistics companies have already expressed their intention to move into the Second Zone, with the site creation work for an area of 411,000m2 being scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.
The Third Zone is planned to be developed as the center for innovative growth of the aviation industry and will include various cutting-edge technology areas such as urban air mobility (UAM), drone manufacturing, R&D, and aviation parts manufacturing. In order to build an industrial ecosystem, the Third Zone is planned to be built as a UAM-specialized complex with a total investment of KRW 260 billion in an area spanning 1,290 m2 near the Second Zone.
Geographical Advantages and Visions of Cheongju Aeropolis
Cheongju Aeropolis is a transportation and logistics hub located in the center of the country and is closely connected to Cheongju International Airport, the largest airport in the central region and the gateway airport of Sejong City, providing access to anywhere in the country in two hours. The Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority aims to develop Cheongju Aeropolis as the base for the production and maintenance of UAM materials and parts, and as the best test bed for verifying service models by taking full advantage of the geographical advantages, industrial competency and high-quality human resources development system in combination with the Cheongju International Airport and the Aviation Maintenance Complex. As part of the plan, the Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority will proactively pursue and implement the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s policy to commercialize UAM by 2025 and nurture the industry as the future growth engine of the region while taking proactive actions to improve the mobility of residents.
In addition, the Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority plans to build a new city with a population of approximately 50,000 in the vicinity of the Mihocheon to support the development of Cheongju Aeropolis and Cheongju International Airport and to accelerate the development of the aviation industry. This city is envisioned to be a mobility-friendly smart city capable of overcoming the weaknesses and limits of modern mobility.
The Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority believes that there is much potential for the development of Cheongju International Airport with the operation of the Aero-K Airline in the airport and that it will also create synergy with other aviation companies based in Cheongju Aeropolis. In particular, the Chungbuk Free Economic Zone Authority is convinced that, by pushing ahead with the UAM business, it can expand accessibility and provide more mobility options for airport users, and that, together with the autonomous driving track and pilot industrial complex in Ochang and Osong, Cheongju Aeropolis will lead Korea’s aviation industry as the center of innovation for new future industries.