JEJU, Jan. 26 (Korea Bizwire) – Jeju International Airport on South Korea’s southernmost resort island operated hundreds of flights overnight, carrying some 23,900 people off the island after passengers had been grounded by heavy snowfall for over 40 hours, the government said Tuesday.
The Jeju Regional Office of Aviation said a total of 355 flights — 155 inbound and 200 outbound — were safely executed as of 5:20 a.m. Tuesday. The authorities temporarily lifted night flight restrictions to deal with the backlog of flights.
Some 150 flights, in addition to regularly scheduled ones, have been in operation since the resumption to help people stranded on Jeju.
The overnight operation came after heavy snow, sub-zero temperatures and strong winds forced one of South Korea’s busiest airports to go dark early Saturday evening, which resulted in flight cancellations and thousands of stranded travelers.
It is estimated that some 86,900 people had been stuck, with 1,400 forced into an extended stay at the airport terminal itself.
The authorities said the airport, with one main operational runway that can accommodate 34 takeoff and landing slots per hour, was put into full operation. At peak time around 10 p.m., separate flights landed and took off with just 100 seconds between them.
Meanwhile, part of an engine cover of a passenger flight belonging to South Korea’s No. 1 carrier, Korean Air, was found broken off at the island’s airport at around 11 p.m. The flight had departed from Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport to pick up passengers at Jeju.
The plane had no passengers on board at the time and no casualties were reported, but the incident delayed some 10 flights which were planning to fly to and from the island for about an hour. Authorities are investigating the details and exact cause of the incident.
On Tuesday, 556 flights — 269 inbound and 287 outbound — are scheduled to operate at Jeju airport, with another 40,000 passengers estimated to leave the island.’