Air traffic in and out of Korea up 22.6% in April

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Air traffic in and out of Korea up 22.6% in April

Korea’s international air passenger traffic surged 22.6 percent in April from a year earlier due to a sharp rise in visitors from Japan and other countries, and more Koreans going abroad, the government said yesterday.

The number of international air passengers came to some 3.75 million last month, the highest number for the month of April, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. The previous record was reached in April 2011, when numbers hit 3.07 million.

The ministry attributed the growth to a rise in the number of Japanese visitors arriving in the country during the Golden Week (April 29-May5), and Koreans going overseas to places like Southeast Asia.

Compared to the year before, passenger traffic on Japanese routes surged 52.2 percent.

It said the sharp rise in passengers going to and coming from Japan, reflects the low base effect caused by people refraining from traveling to Japan last year following the March 11 earthquake and nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The figure also showed the number of passengers on flights to Oceania and Southeast Asia rising 24.1 percent and 21.6 percent, respectively, from the year before, with numbers for routes to China gaining 3.2 percent.

The rise in Chinese routes can be attributed to more Chinese tourists arriving in the country during the International Workers’ Day holiday.

Of the total number of international flights, 67.2 percent of all travelers used flights offered by Korea’s flag carriers, with the number of passengers on the country’s low-cost carriers (LCC) edging up 3.8 percentage points on-year to account for 7.1 percent of the total.

The number of passengers on domestic flights rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier to 2.02 million, fueled by more people going to Jeju Island off Korea’s southern coast.

Of the total, LCCs ferried 860,000 people on domestic routes, up 11.3 percent on-year, with the market share of such companies as Jeju Air and Air Busan reaching 42.4 percent, a gain of 2.2 percentage points from a year earlier.

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