Foggy conditions force cancellations, delays at Incheon International Airport over the weekend

Delayed flights are seen on a display at Incheon International Airport, on Dec 23, 2017.
Delayed flights are seen on a display at Incheon International Airport, on Dec 23, 2017. PHOTO: TWITTER/@NDMARCIANO

INCHEON (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Foggy conditions on Christmas Eve forced several cancellations and delays at South Korea's main gateway.

As of 10am on Sunday (Dec 24), 34 outbound and nine inbound flights at Incheon International Airport had been delayed, according to Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC). In addition, five outbound and six inbound flights were cancelled.

Thick fog on the western coast, where the airport is situated, also caused 312 delays and 49 cancellations on Saturday. The IIAC said 43 other flights bound for Incheon were forced to land at other airports in the country.

An IIAC official said delayed or cancelled flights from Saturday caused a logjam on Sunday.

The Aviation Meteorological Office issued a low visibility warning at Incheon International Airport at 1.35am on Sunday and lifted it some four hours later.

The warning is issued only when visibility is under 400 metres, with the visibility at the airport dropping to 50 metres at one point on Saturday.

While airport officials were grappling with fog, other parts of the country were blanketed by ultrafine dust on Sunday.

The Korea Environment Corp. issued an ultrafine dust (PM-2.5) advisory on Saturday afternoon, and it remained in effect in Seoul, Incheon and other regions as of 10am on Sunday.

The advisory is issued when an hourly average ultrafine dust concentration of more than 90 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) is expected to last for two hours and is lifted when the hourly average concentration falls below 50 µg/m³.

As of 10am on Christmas Eve, the average concentration per hour in Seoul was 66 µg/m³, 55 µg/m³ in Busan and 56 µg/m³ in Incheon.