South Korea's air passenger traffic rose 5 percent last year from a year earlier on higher travel demand, the transport ministry said Wednesday.
For the whole of 2019, 123 million passengers, including 90 million on international routes, flew with full-service and low-cost carriers, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The number of passengers on international routes jumped 5.2 percent on-year last year, mainly helped by increased numbers of flights by low-cost carriers and recovering travel demand in China, it said.
"The passenger traffic hit a record high last year as airlines diversified their routes to offset lower travel demand to Japan and Hong Kong," a ministry official said.
The number of passengers on domestic routes increased 4.4 percent to 33 million during the same period, the ministry said.
In contrast, air cargo deliveries fell 3.8 percent on-year to 4.27 million tons last year on decreased exports of IT products amid the US-China trade row and Japan's restrictions on exports of key materials used to make chips and displays to South Korea, it said.
South Korea has two full-service carriers -- Korean Air and Asiana Airlines Inc. -- and seven low-cost carriers -- Jeju Air, Jin Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet, T'way and Fly Gangwon.
Two more LCCs -- Air Premia Co. and Aero K Airlines Co. -- are expected to join the group this year. (Yonhap)