(ATTN: UPDATES with details in para 5; CHANGES headline and lead)
SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean tourists stranded on Guam started to return home as the international airport on the island resumed operation Monday afternoon after closure due to a powerful typhoon, airline officials said.
The country's four carriers -- Korean Air Co., Jeju Air Co., Jin Air Co. and T'way Air -- said they have resumed flights to bring back Korean tourists starting Monday, as the Guam airport reopens at 2 p.m. (Korean time) or 3 p.m. (local time) on the same day.
The carriers sent a total of 11 passenger jets to Guam on Monday to bring about 2,500 Korean travelers home, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Those planes are expected to arrive at the airport in Guam from Monday to Tuesday.
Of them, Jin Air's flight was the first to return to Incheon International Airport from Guam at 8:40 p.m. Monday. The other flights by the Korean carriers are scheduled to arrive at Incheon through Tuesday morning, according to the transport ministry.
Korean Air, the country's national flag carrier, said it will operate a 338-seat B777-300 aircraft and a 276-seat A330-300, respectively, on Monday and Tuesday, to carry Korean tourists.
On Monday morning, the foreign ministry dispatched four officials to provide help to the stranded tourists and discuss possible issues with local authorities, with two more officials planning to join them Monday afternoon.
Some 3,400 South Korean tourists have remained stuck in Guam since the international airport on the United States' Pacific island territory was shut down Monday last week due to damage caused by Typhoon Mawar.
Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, U.S., Japan condemn N. Korea's stipulation of nuclear policy
Memorials commemorating Itaewon crowd crush to be erected at accident site
Pentagon's CWMD strategy document calls N. Korea 'persistent threat'
Yoon hosts luncheon meeting with Korean atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima on Chuseok
Opposition leader Lee again proposes talks with President Yoon