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Passengers using budget carriers jump over 30%

The number of people who used Korea’s budget carriers jumped over 30 percent on-year in the first two months of the year as more people chose cheap fares for domestic flights, the transportation ministry said Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, passengers who used budget carriers totaled 1.45 million in the January-February period, up 31 percent from a year earlier.

Passengers on budget carriers’ domestic flights rose 17.5 percent to 1.18 million, pushing up their market share from 34.4 percent to 40.9 percent, the report showed.

More than one out of two passengers traveling between Gimpo and Jeju, the southern resort island, used low-cost carriers.

Corresponding numbers for the Gimhae-Jeju and Gunsan-Jeju routes came in at 61.6 percent and 56.7 percent, respectively, the report showed.

The increase came amid growing popularity for low-cost airlines in Korea, which mostly offer domestic flight services for cheaper fares.

Last year, the combined revenue of the five carriers ― Jeju Air Co., Air Busan Co., Jin Air Co., Eastar Jet Co. and T’way Airlines ― rose to 512.6 billion won ($453.6 million) from 264.7 billion won a year ago, according to the ministry’s earlier report. 

(Yonhap News)
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