Korea, Republic of (ROK) - Transportation
The bulk of ROK railroads, totaling 3,124 km (1,941 mi) of track in 2002, are government owned. The Seoul subway system opened in 1991. Construction of Pusan's first subway line was completed in 1985.
The ROK road system carries 90% of the country's transportation. In 2002, the ROK had 87,534 km (54,394 mi) of roadway, of which 65,388 km (40,632 mi) were paved, including 1,996 km (1,069 mi) of expressways. There were 8,084,005 passenger automobiles, and 3,975,856 commercial vehicles in 2000. Bus transportation networks of varying quality serve most of the rural towns.
Maritime shipping expanded rapidly during the 1970s. By 2002, the ROK had a merchant fleet of 501 vessels, accounting for a total of 5,212,089 GRT (9,172,403 DWT). Pusan is the chief port; other major ports include Inch'on (the port for Seoul), Kunsan, and Mokp'o.
There were 102 airports in 2001, 69 of which had paved runways. Major airports include Cheju International at Cheju, Kimhae International at Pusan, and Kimpo International at Seoul. Civil aviation in the ROK in 2001 amounted to 6,957 million freight ton-km (4,323 million freight ton-mi) of service and 32,638,200 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights. Korean Air Lines (KAL), privately owned since 1969, grew rapidly during the 1970s and now ranks as a major world carrier. On the morning of 1 September 1983, a KAL jetliner en route from New York to Seoul via Anchorage, Alaska, strayed over airspace of the former USSR and was shot down by Soviet interceptors, reportedly because they thought it was a military aircraft engaged in espionage; all 269 persons on board were killed, and worldwide protest followed. In November 1983, 115 people were killed when a bomb was apparently detonated aboard a KAL jet en route to Seoul.