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Asiana flight grounded in Kazakhstan to return to S. Korea this week: ministry

An Asiana Airlines aircraft sits at Incheon Airport. (Yonhap)
An Asiana Airlines aircraft sits at Incheon Airport. (Yonhap)
A South Korean passenger jet that has been grounded in Kazakhstan amid an anti-government protest is expected to return home later this week once the Central Asian nation's largest airport resumes operations, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The flight of Asiana Airlines Inc., a South Korean flag carrier, with dozens of South Koreans aboard has been grounded at Almaty International Airport since it landed there Wednesday, when protesters took control of the nation's main gateway.

The ministry said Asiana is preparing for the flight's departure at noon (local time) Thursday, though the schedule could change depending on the situation at the airport.

Among 37 South Korean passengers and crew members of the aircraft, 22 went home or to other safe places in Kazakhstan, while 15 are still staying at local hotels, according to the ministry.

The Seoul government will provide necessary support for the Korean nationals to safely return home, it added.

Around an additional 50 Korean nationals, including passengers, crew members and local residents, have expressed their desire to leave for South Korea on the Asiana plane, an informed source said. (Yonhap)

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