Aviation in South Korea is put on hold for 35 minutes to help out students in the country who are taking influential exams.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Molit) of South Korea halted all aircraft operations throughout the country from 1:05 pm to 1:40 pm local time on November 14, 2019. During that time, all aircraft landings at all domestic airports are prohibited, MOLIT announced on November 11, outlining that the exceptions are made for emergency transport. The ministry anticipated the halt to affect 40 international flights and 118 domestic flights scheduled at the time.
The flights halt is a noise control measure implemented during English listening test, part of all-day long national university entrance examination in which approximately 550,000 students are taking part at 1,185 test sites nationwide. The high-stakes exam is often perceived as paramount to a successful life, as good performance allows entering a prestigious university, which, in turn, is seen as crucial to obtain a successful job in the future.
While unusual to a foreigner’s eye, MOLIT’s measures to help out students do not fall out of the context in the country. Government offices, businesses and even Seoul’s stock market have adjusted their working time, pushing opening and closing time one hour later to reduce traffic and help students to arrive to examination on time. Local police vehicles were also on standby in case they were needed for late running students.