Incheon International Airport (Yonhap)
Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to South Korea, has seen a sharp recovery in the number of inbound and outbound travelers over the past two months amid the country's push for a "Living with COVID-19" plan.
According to Incheon International Airport Corp., the state-run operator of the airport, the number of international travelers departing or landing via Incheon jumped 44 percent, compared with a year earlier, to some 338,000 in August.
It was the first monthly figure surpassing the 300,000 threshold in 16 months since the number nosedived to the 100,000 range in April last year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number fell to 287,000 in September, and that figure still represented a 46-percent rise from a year earlier. The number totaled 183,000 in the first 19 days of this month, raising expectations it could top the 300,000 mark again.
The monthly average number of international flights at the airport in August and September soared to 10,789 from 8,775 recorded during the same two-month period last year, according to the airport operator.
The number, however, remains a far cry from 2019 when the monthly average of international flights stood at 33,675. The monthly average of international travelers using the airport came to some 588,000 that year.
After nearly two years of strict social distancing restraints to fight the pandemic, South Korea is gearing up for a "Living with COVID-19" scheme, aimed at bringing the nation gradually back to the pre-pandemic normalcy. (Yonhap)