Seoul's Incheon international airport is planning to open a plastic surgery clinic in the transfer section, a decision that has sparked controversy regarding the risks involved in boarding a flight after undergoing such procedures.
The project, which specifies that the transfer zone of the new passenger terminal will host the 240-square-metre aesthetic clinic, was denounced on Tuesday by parliamentarian Kang Hoon-sik of the ruling Democratic Party, reports Efe news.
Kang accused the airport of wanting to put profitability over traveller safety and stated that "the plan should be reexamined".
Taking advantage of the fame enjoyed by South Korean plastic surgery clinics, especially among citizens of other Asian countries, the project seeks to attract more international stopovers in Incheon by allowing travellers to operate without even having to enter the country.
Last year, medical tourism in South Korea grew by 22.7 per cent inter annually representing 364,000 travellers of whom 11.3 per cent (some 48,000 tourists, mostly Chinese and Japanese) underwent cosmetic surgeries or dermatological treatments.
The Korean Association of Plastic Surgeons and other medical associations have also condemned the idea based on the dangers a patient might face on flights even after undergoing the simplest operations, such as double-eyelid surgeries, which are very popular in Asia.
They explained that pressure changes on board a plane could lead to stitches coming loose in addition to the increased risk of infections due to flight fatigue and lowered immunity.
They denounced the lack of foresight in terms of legal liability on the possibility that travellers might miss flights having undergone an operation during their stopover.
(Indo-Asian News Service)