Group protests USFK taxi stand at Incheon Airport
October 27, 2007
A South Korean civic group thinks Americans are getting an unfair break at Seoul’s main international airport.
The group — whose name roughly translates to Incheon Association Toward Peace and Participation — wants the Incheon International Airport to remove a taxi stand reserved for shuttle buses and taxis for U.S. Forces Korea personnel.
“It is beyond common sense,” said Rho Myeong-gu, the group’s director. “It is nothing but preferential treatment for USFK by Incheon airport officials who worship the powerful Americans.”
The platform is one of 14 outside the first floor of a passenger terminal and has a sign that says “U.S. Military Shuttle Buses” and “AAFES Taxi” for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service taxis allowed on U.S. military bases.
Rho said the airport shouldn’t reserve a platform for a small number of U.S. Forces Korea personnel when thousands of other passengers have to share 13 other platforms. He also said the U.S. military doesn’t need its own stand during peacetime.
A spokesman for Incheon International Airport said airport officials have no plans to remove the stand.
Shawn Dorcy, AAFES general manager at the Capitol Exchange at Yongsan Garrison, said there’s enough business at the taxi stand to make it worthwhile.
On average, 50 to 60 SOFA personnel take Arirang taxis at Incheon on weekdays and 100 take them on Fridays and Saturdays, Dorcy said.
The taxi service operates from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
From 80,000 to 90,000 passengers use the airport each day. Airport officials didn’t know how many of those passengers are affiliated with the U.S. military.
The airport spokesman said passengers have complained in the past about soldiers crowding the airport and sleeping on the floor as they wait for rides, particularly during training exercises and when large numbers of soldiers are moving.