This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 9/6/2018



2018 (Est.)
Total Market Size7,2157,8595,4366,461
Total Local Production4,8865,1173,9694,425
Total Exports2,5632,5422,0862,304
Total Imports4,8925,2843,5534,340
Source: Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA). Unit: USD Million.
According to trade figures announced by Korea International Trade Association, Korea is the12th largest market for U.S. aerospace exports in 2017.  In 2017, total U.S. aerospace exports to Korea exceeded 3.3 billion USD (including aerospace products in the defense sector).  In total value, U.S. aerospace sales constituted about 80 percent of Korea’s total aerospace imports in 2017. 
Over 98 percent of the total aerospace imports into Korea are for commercial & defense aircraft and their parts and components.  Of this, 80 percent of Korea’s aircraft, parts and component imports were from the U.S. in 2017. 
AircraftWhole platform2582,3028141,2952941,812
Space parts191293118047201
Source: Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA). Unit: USD Million.
Major Local Players
Korea’s aerospace industry is driven by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI: ) and Korean Air, one of the largest commercial airliners in Korea.  KAI and Korean Air are also the leading companies which make and assemble parts for Boeing and Airbus.  KAI and Korean Air are active in developing indigenous aircraft including UAVs, rotor-wings, and fixed wings.  In 2008, KAI introduced its first non-military private aircraft, ‘Naraon’, making Korea the 28th nation in the world to build and fly an indigenous plane.  In 2015, KAI won the KF-X project - Korea’s next generation fighter jets.  The Korean government will invest 17 billion USD in the KF-X program until 2025. Korean Air is active in providing MRO services for both commercial and defense aircraft.
There is a cluster of Korean small and medium sized aerospace companies in Gyeongnam area forming a Korean Aerospace Valley.  The companies within this aerospace valley focus on supplying parts and components to KAI and KAL and also exporting. Gyeongnam Export Support Corps for Aero-parts (GESCA: supports these aerospace companies and are currently actively cooperating with the foreign aerospace companies for both imports and exports.
Commercial Airliners
Korean Air is the largest passenger and cargo carrier company in Korea and is one of the largest consumers of aircraft, equipment, components, and various aerospace services -- as well as being one of the major exporters of aerospace parts and components.  Asiana Airlines is the second largest airline in Korea, currently operating more than 80 aircrafts.  Additionally, there are six Low Cost Carriers (LCC): Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet, T’Way Air and Air Seoul. Six new LCC Airlines, Fly YangYang, Air Daegu, K-Air Airline, Nambu Air, Prime Airline and Pohang Air are getting ready for the operation.
In 2016, 30.3 percent of all international travelers (mostly traveling to China and Japan) and 57 percent of domestic travelers used LCCs.  LCCs demonstrated a dramatic annual sales revenue growth of 40 percent in the past five years and it is expected to maintain rapid growth for a few years in the future.
Korea has two state-owned airport companies, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) and Korea Airport Corporation (KAC).  IIAC is the nation’s largest and has its main international airport in Incheon City.  Incheon Airport was voted the top in ‘airport service/quality’ for ten years in a row. It has also won the highest score in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) category by the Airports Council International (ACI), which consists of 1,700 airports around the world. KAC operates a total of 14 airports in Korea (Gimpo, Gimhae, Jeju, Daegu, Ulsan, Chungju, Muahn, Kwangju, Yeosu, Pohang, Yangyang, Sacheon, Kunsan, and Wonju), of which seven have international status with routes mainly to China and Japan. 
Incheon Airport completed its USD 4.6 billion second terminal in 2017. This expansion will correspond to increased international travelers and will improve its strength as a international hub airport. With the second terminal, Incheon International Airport will be able to accommodate 6.2 million travelers and one thousand airplanes.

Best Products/Services

- Aircrafts and aircraft upgrades
- Radar/surveillance devices
- Avionics
- Parts and components & MRO


Top U.S. aerospace exports to Korea include: complete commercial aircraft, commercial  aircraft engines, equipment and parts, as well as military aircraft and their parts and componentsThe U.S. continues to be the dominant foreign supplier of aerospace/defense products and services, with a dominant import market share. This trend will continue for several years, due to the tremendous growth of LCCs in Korea, and due to Korea’s recent decision to purchase next generation fighters (40 F-35s) and other defense aircraft, thus increasing demand on MRO services in the future and as related to these aircraft models.
Although small in quantity, Korea’s space market also presents opportunities for foreign suppliers especially in satellite launching services, high-tech sensors and optical devices for the payload systems.
All of the U.S. aerospace exports are duty-free as of March 15, 2012 and as a result of the implementation of the Korean-U.S.FTA (KORUS).


Trade Shows
Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition 2019 (Seoul Air Show 2019)
15 - 20, 2019 -
Key Contacts
Korea Aerospace Industries Association (KAIA) –
Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) –
Ministry of National Defense (MND) -
Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning (MSIP) –
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT) –
Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) –
Korea Airport Corporation (KAC) –
Local Contact
Ms. Sunny Park
Commercial Specialist
Commercial Service Korea
U.S. Embassy Seoul
188 Sejong-daero, Jongro-gu
Seoul 03141 Korea
Tel: 82-2-397-4164

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South Korea Aerospace and Defense Trade Development and Promotion