Seoul’s Incheon Airport closed after North Korean balloon lands on runway

Photo Atrium / / World War 3 / X

Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) was forced to shut down for a few hours after balloons launched by North Korea disrupted airport operations.

Takeoffs and landings of both domestic and international flights were either suspended or delayed at the airport between 01:46 and 04:44 local time, Seoul-based media outlet Yonhap News reported, citing airport officials.

An airport spokesperson told CNN that several balloons were spotted in and around the airport boundaries. One balloon landed on the tarmac near passenger Terminal 2 and the three runways at Incheon were temporarily shut down.

Incheon Airport is located approximately 40 kilometers from the North Korean border. The spokesperson also added that this is not the first instance where operations at the airport had been disrupted by balloons sent from the north.

Since late May 2024, North Korea has flown rubbish-filled balloons into South Korea. To date, more than 1,500  balloons have been sent, most filled with cigarette butts, soiled clothing, soil containing fecal matter, and parasites.

North Korea reportedly said that these are a retaliation to South Korean activists sending leaflets containing materials criticizing the regime of its leader Kim Jong Un.

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