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S. Korea to invest W115b on aviation tech to overcome virus fallout

A Korean Air aircraft lands at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Feb. 26, 2021. (Yonhap)
A Korean Air aircraft lands at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Feb. 26, 2021. (Yonhap)
South Korea said Friday it plans to invest 115.3 billion won ($102 million) this year to study deeper into state-of-the-art aviation technologies as it vowed to spare no efforts to help local companies to overcome the new coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement is in line with the country's 10-year development plan, which centers on supporting related businesses to make headway not only in the civil aviation segment, but also in the military and drone industries as well, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The government set aside 82.8 billion won to support aviation part producers, while allocating another 26.5 billion won to the drone segment, which includes a project to develop a hydrogen-powered cargo drone with a capacity of 200 kilograms.

"We need to endure the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time develop technologies to lead the future aviation industry while bolstering our competitiveness," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said during a meeting with officials from local aviation companies.

In sync with the Moon Jae-in administration's green energy drive, the ministry plans to support projects studying deeper into ways to harness sustainable resources such as hydrogen on aircraft.

The country said it especially holds an advantage in the information and display technologies that can be utilized in the development of smart cabins.

South Korea said it will continue providing financial support for subcontractors to maintain supply chains amid the pandemic and build infrastructure such as joint testing centers to help them speed up exports.

The 10-year plan will focus on the development of the urban air mobility sector (UAM) as well, with the government seeking to develop key technologies for commercialization.

The global market for the UAM industry is expected to reach $61.5 billion in 2030, the ministry said.

The size of the global aviation market, meanwhile, came to $468.7 billion in 2020, sharply down 36 percent from a year earlier, the ministry data showed.

Following the gradual recovery from the COVID-19 fallout, however, the figure is expected to rebound to $568.2 billion this year and reach the pre-pandemic level in 2024, eventually to reach $946.2 billion in 2030. (Yonhap)
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