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Air passengers rise 24% on-year in May amid return to pre-pandemic normalcy

June 6, 2023 - 10:05 By Yonhap
Travelers stand in line in front of a check-in counter at Incheon International Airport, on June 2. (Yonhap)

The number of flight passengers using Korean flag air carriers rose nearly 24 percent in May from a year earlier amid a nationwide move to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, government data showed Tuesday.

Korean airlines carried a total of 9.32 million people on international and domestic routes last month, up 23.8 percent from 7.54 million tallied a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

International passengers soared more than sixfold to 3.6 million in May from the previous year's 556,000, while air passengers on domestic routes declined 18 percent on-year to 5.73 million from 6.98 million over the cited period.

The monthly figure also accounted for 85.8 percent of 10.88 million tallied in May 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sharp on-year increase came as local air carriers have resumed international flights to meet pent-up travel demand in the midst of lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

According to separate recent data from the Korea Tourism Organization, a total of 1.5 million South Koreans traveled overseas in April, up nearly 600 percent from a year ago. (Yonhap)