SEOUL, March 25 (Korea Bizwire) — The daily number of passengers traveling through Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, fell to an all-time low this week, its operator said Wednesday, amid the worldwide spread of the coronavirus outbreak and relevant travel restrictions imposed by many countries.
Incheon International Airport Corp. said only 9,316 passengers — 1,800 outbound and 7,516 inbound — used the main gateway to Seoul on Tuesday, marking the smallest daily number since the airport’s opening in 2001.
It is the first time in the airport’s history that the daily number of passengers has fallen below 10,000.
The number of airplanes that arrived or departed from the airport also plunged to a record low of 92 on Tuesday.
The daily number of passengers using the Incheon airport averaged 187,000 as of 2018, with the figure exceeding 220,000 during the summer holiday and other peak seasons last year.
In January this year, the airport handled more than 200,000 passengers on average every day.
As a growing number of countries began to enforce travel bans or restrictions due to COVID-19 fears, the Incheon airport’s passenger traffic has steadily decreased.
Its daily number of passengers dipped below 100,000 on Feb. 17 and 50,000 on March 2.
A week later, the number dived to 21,241 on March 9, breaking the previous record low of 26,773, registered on May 20, 2003, when international travel was hit by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The daily number of passengers had remained between 10,000 and 20,000 over the past two weeks before dipping to a four-digit number Tuesday.