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S. Korea's air passenger traffic jumps 43.2 pct in July

All Headlines 06:00 September 02, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's air passenger traffic soared 43.2 percent from a year earlier in July with both international and domestic passenger traffic growing at a fast rate, the transportation ministry said Friday.

The overall air passenger traffic came to over 9.5 million in July, compared with some 6.63 million in the same month last year, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

International air passengers to and from the country spiked 54.4 percent on-year to about 6.73 million, while the number of domestic air passengers jumped 21.8 percent to over 2.77 million.

The sharp increase in international passenger traffic was largely attributed to a surge in the number of foreign visitors to South Korea, who had in July 2015 stayed away amid a health scare then prompted by an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Still, the July tally marks a 31.2 percent surge from July 2014 when there were no health or safety concerns here, the ministry said.

Air passengers to and from China more than doubled from a year earlier, spiking 116.6 percent to over 2.04 million in July.

Passengers between South Korea and Japan soared 46 percent on-year to some 1.27 million, with those to and from Southeast Asian countries also surging 51.2 percent to 2.16 million, according to the ministry.

Out of all international air passengers to and from South Korea, 63.6 percent used flights operated by seven South Korean airlines that include five low-cost carriers.

The reading marked a slight drop from a combined market share of 67.3 percent in July 2015.

However, the surge in the sheer number of passengers to and from the country helped greatly boost the number of passengers for all South Korean flag carriers.

In July, the overall number of passengers on flights operated by the two largest flag carriers -- Korean Air and Asiana Airlines -- jumped 30.9 percent on-year to some 2.95 million, while the five budget carriers saw their number of passengers nearly double to over 1.33 million from some 682,000 a year earlier.

Domestic air passenger traffic jumped 21.8 percent on-year to 2.78 million, helped by a 25.4 percent spike in the number of passengers to and from the southern resort island of Jeju.

International air cargo traffic surged 14.9 percent on-year to 320,000 tons, the ministry said.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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