Here in the US, the thought of building brand new airports all around the country is a pipe dream that will never happen. Simply getting a new runway at an existing airport takes decades, and the only way you'll see a new airport is if it's way, way out of town. Apparently, the latter is the strategy being used in Korea, but it's failing miserably.
It's not that Korea is having trouble getting the airports built. No, they're building like crazy. For example, Yangyang International was built earlier this decade in the northeast region of South Korea at a cost of $400 million. It seems to be a beautiful facility, but the only people admiring it are the employees.
Yangyang averaged 26 daily passengers last year, and now there are no commercial flights. It's not alone in its struggles. Muan International down south still has flights but it's struggling. And there's another airport that is 80 percent complete but they've stopped work on the project.
Clearly, if you build it, they might not actually come. This is more extreme than some of the remote airport plans that have been floated around the US, but it should still be a good lesson for those politicians who get the itch to push for a new facility. Airports only work if there are people nearby to use them.