Passenger to pay for airline noise


Flight passengers are likely to be charged for the noises airplanes make. The government is pushing for a bill containing such plans to secure resources to build soundproof facilities for residents near the airport area who are suffering noise pollution, but critics say the government is offloading its responsibility on passengers, who are already paying the fuel surcharge for soaring oil prices.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs on Sunday said it is negotiating with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to devise a noise charge to be paid by passengers. “A bill that allows the government to impose a charge up to W3,000 on passengers was submitted to the National Assembly last month, and the bill is currently under review,” the Ministry said. The purpose is to build soundproof facilities for residential area and schools near the airports.

The government has tried to build enough soundproof facilities, but due to financial difficulties, only 37 percent of the total budget of the project, or W134.7 billion out of W365.6 billion, has been found since 1994.

Under the new plan, fares from Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Ulsan and Yeosu will go up as these cities are categorized as suffering from serious noise level. Although the airports in Cheongju, Gwangju, Daegu, Gunsan and Wonju were not classified as noise-risk area, noise there is still deemed serious, and appropriate measures are necessary to reduce it.

Moon Eun-sook of Consumers Korea said, “The government and the airlines are trying to pass the buck to passengers. Such cost must be borne by them.”