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S. Korea's air passenger traffic hits record high in 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's air passenger traffic reached a new high in 2016 on a sharp increase in international passengers to and from the country amid expanded services of low-cost carriers (LCCs), the transportation ministry said Monday.

Air passenger traffic came in at 103.9 million last year, breaching the 100 million mark for the first time in the country's history, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The 2016 tally breaks down to 73 million international air passengers and 30.9 million domestic air passengers, which represents an 18.1 percent rise from a year earlier and a 10.5 percent hike, respectively, the ministry said.

The country's air passengers have been on a sharp rise, reaching 73.3 million in 2013, 81.4 million in 2014 and 89.4 million in 2015.

The increase in air passenger traffic was attributed to a rise in both international and domestic passengers.

By airline, 45.1 percent of international air passengers used Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Co. -- the country's two flag carriers -- with the remainder using the flight services by budget carriers and foreign airlines.

The country's LCCs accounted for 19.6 percent of international air passenger services last year, up from 9.6 percent in 2013, 11.5 percent in 2014 and 14.6 percent in 2015, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the country's international air cargo traffic also reached a record high last year with 3.78 million tons, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Park Byung-uk  edt@koreapost.com

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