Visitors pass by an empty crosswalk at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1, in January 2021. (Yonhap)
On top of the crisis posed by the pandemic, Incheon Airport has another headache: A growing number of apparently abandoned vehicles in the airport parking lot, with one such car there for seven years.
The number of such cars has doubled in the past year.
Because long-term parking is not illegal in most airports, the process of disposing abandoned vehicles is not simple.
According to the Incheon International Airport Corp. on Wednesday, some 48 vehicles have been in the airport parking lot for more than a year. The number of vehicles was 24 in December 2019.
Parking fees at the Incheon International Airport Passenger Terminal are 24,000 won ($21.55) per day for short-term stays, and 9,000 won for long-term parking. The total outstanding parking fees accumulated for all the abandoned vehicles as of Wednesday, amounts to 480 million won.
From expensive cars such as Mercedes-Benz models, to the yellow midsized vehicles that are usually used for pick-up services for kids’ academies, 1-ton pickup trucks, and lightweight cars to SUVs, were all left unattended at the airport parking lot. The cars have currently been moved to a temporary storage area set up on one side, next to the parking lot.
Among the vehicles included one owned by someone working for US Forces Korea, and a Magnus model that entered the parking lot in December 2013.
The total parking fees owed on the Magnus is around 25 million won.
“Many of the owners of long-term neglected vehicles have been found to be foreign nationals,” one official at Incheon International Airport Corp. said. “We suspect that they left the country after leaving the vehicles behind.”
The owners of four out of 48 long-term neglected vehicles are unknown, and are currently being held by Junggu, Incheon, the local government in charge of the airport. Junggu district plans to publicly sell or scrap the cars under the Automobile Management Act.
Incheon International Airport Corp. is going through procedures to get seizure orders put on the remaining 44 cars. These vehicles include those that cannot currently be forcibly disposed of, as their foreign owners are currently unreachable.
Incheon International Airport Corp. has completed seizures of 41 out of 44 vehicles, and the remaining three are undergoing necessary procedures.
By Kim Hae-yeon (email@example.com