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Departures, arrivals at Incheon airport up 12.2 pct in Feb.

All Headlines 20:49 March 04, 2010

INCHEON, March 4 (Yonhap) -- The number of people arriving and departing South Korea through Incheon International Airport grew 12.2 percent on-year in February, the local immigration office said Thursday.

Incheon Airport Immigration Office said the total number of people entering and exiting the country reached 2.14 million. The airport, one of Asia's busiest air terminals, is located about 40 kilometers west of Seoul on Yoengjong Island in Gyeonggi Bay.

The office under the justice ministry said arrivals and departures by Korean nationals shot up 21.7 percent compared to the year before to 1.32 million, with numbers for foreigners dipping 0.3 percent to 820,359 people.

The decline for foreigners marks the second straight month that the immigration office processed fewer people on a monthly basis vis-a-vis 2009.

Officials said the decline is mainly due to the decline in Japanese tourists visiting the country. Their numbers dropped 25.2 percent on-year last month to 129,385 people.

By nationality, Japanese nationals accounted for 30.9 percent of all people entering and leaving the country, followed by Chinese and U.S. citizens, who made up 23.4 percent and 9.8 percent of the total, respectively.

Immigration officials also said that the number of transfer passengers using Incheon grew 9.9 percent on-year to 203,480 last month. This marks the seventh month in a row that transfer passengers topped the 200,000 mark, indicating that the airport is emerging as a new regional transportation hub.
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