SEOUL, July 5 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of South Korean international air travelers dipped nearly 98 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier due to entry restrictions and lower demand amid the new coronavirus pandemic, data showed Sunday.
The number of air passengers on international routes by local air carriers plunged to 328,348 over the April-June period, compared with the 15.2 million posted a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Civil Aviation Association (KCA).
Local airlines have grounded most of their flights on international routes since March as an increasing number of countries have closed their borders due to concerns over the new coronavirus pandemic.
Korean Air Lines Co., the country’s top carrier, saw its international passengers drop 96.2 percent over the period to reach 190,458. The figure for its smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc. also dropped 96.5 percent, the data showed.
Jeju Air Co., the only low-cost carrier (LCC) here that still operates regular overseas flights, saw its number of passengers on international routes plunge 99.3 percent on-year in the second quarter.
The number of air passengers on domestic routes, however, managed to drop at a smaller margin of 37.8 percent over the period, due to the rising number of travelers heading to local destinations, according to the KCA.
Over the April-June period, the number of domestic air passengers decreased by 37.8 percent on-year to 5.24 million.
T’way Air Co., another LCC, saw its number of passengers on domestic routes advance 12.8 percent to 843,406.
The International Air Transport Association and the Airport Council International currently expect it may take up to five years for the number of air passengers to rebound to the pre-pandemic level.