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S. Korea's air passenger traffic hits record high in 2012


13:33, January 23, 2013

SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's air passenger traffic surged to a record high last year on the back of international passenger demand growth and the expansion of low-cost airlines, the government said Wednesday.

The number of air passengers rose 8.2 percent from 2011 to set a new record of some 69.3 million last year, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.

The increase was attributed mainly to a large growth in the number of international passengers coming into and leaving the country, which jumped 11.9 percent on-year to about 47.7 million.

Domestic passengers also posted growth of 3 percent on-year to some 21.6 million thanks in part to the expansion of local budget carriers.

Meanwhile, international air cargo traffic dropped 0.9 percent on-year to 3.21 million tons last year due to the global economic downturn and increased overseas production of South Korean IT manufacturers, the ministry said.

For 2013, the ministry expects international air passenger traffic to continue growth to hit 50 million for the first time, helped by the country's hosting of the 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics and growing international services by low budget carriers.

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