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S. Korea's air passenger traffic rises 9.8 pct in 2015

All News 06:00 January 28, 2016

SEJONG, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's air passenger traffic rose 9.8 percent last year from a year earlier on an increase in both inbound and outbound travelers, government data showed Thursday.

The number of people entering and leaving the country by plane reached 89.41 million, up from 81.43 million the year before, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

International passengers gained 8.2 percent on-year to a record 61.43 million last year, while domestic air travelers jumped 13.5 percent to 27.98 million.

"Despite the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, last year's air passenger traffic continued its upbeat trend on the back of expanded routes offered by budget carriers, low travel costs stemming from falling oil prices and the rising popularity of Jeju Island at home and abroad," the ministry said.

An outbreak of MERS in May last year weighed heavily on nearly all industries including the retail and tourism sectors due to a sharp drop in Chinese visitors.

The number of people on South Korea-China routes rose 3.4 percent last year from a year prior, compared with a 26.7 percent on-year surge in 2014. Those who went to Europe jumped 10.4 percent last year as an increasing number of South Korean tourists headed to the region on a strengthening local currency and low jet fuel costs.

The findings also showed that air cargo, both international and domestic, rose 3.1 percent to 3.81 tons last year, boosted by local and overseas demand for semiconductors and mobile telecommunication services, said the ministry.

brk@yna.co.kr
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