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Airports back to normal; storms cost 14.3 billion won

Posted January. 10, 2001 20:05,   


Operations at local airports, which were paralyzed for several days due to heavy snowfall, returned to normal Wednesday but airline companies and the Korea Airports Authority (KAA) were left with losses of 14.3 billion won due to the adverse weather conditions.

On the plus side, the Korean National Railroad (KNR) earned an additional 3 billion won in revenues as more passengers turned to rail travel in the face of flight delays and cancellations.

At Kimpo International Airport, only two international flights and one domestic flight were cancelled Wednesday, as flight schedules returned to relative normalcy. In the morning, an hour or so delayed the departure of some flights as workers removed ice from the wings of planes. But from the afternoon, all planes took off and landed as scheduled. Departure areas were also backing to normal as airlines offered special flights to stranded passengers.

However, the heavy snowfall, which forced the cancellation of about 50 percent of flights over the last three days, cost the airlines huge amounts of revenue. Korean Air cancelled 559 out of 1,125 flights scheduled from Jan. 7 until Jan. 9 and lost roughly 10 billion won. The company also had to spend as much as 300 million won to remove ice from airplanes.

Losses amounted to 3.43 billion won for Asiana Airlines, as the company was unable to operate 493 out of 816 flights scheduled for the same period. The KAA said it suffered losses of 540 million won over the three days.

Meanwhile, the KNR earned an additional 3 billion won, or 1 billion won a day, as huge numbers of airline passengers flocked to train stations. The number of railroad passengers during the period was 38 percent higher than normal, officials said. The KNR's income is expected to further increase in the coming days as meteorologists forecast more snow by the weekend.