The Korea Herald


Seoul-Busan KTX line cuts air travel to Gyeongsang

By 최희석

Published : May 18, 2011 - 19:13

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The number of people traveling the Seoul-Ulsan air route fell 39.4 percent since the last section of the Seoul-Busan high-speed railway was opened, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said Wednesday.

The Seoul-Busan line connected the East Daegu-Busan line to the Seoul-East Daegu line that was completed earlier, and KTX high-speed trains began operating on the route on Nov. 1.

According to the Transport Ministry, the number of passengers traveling by air between Gimpo International Airport and Ulsan Airport between Nov. 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011 came in at about 305,000, down 39.4 percent compared to the same six-month period a year earlier.

By month, April saw the largest drop with a 47 percent decline in the number of those traveling by air between the two cities.

The ministry’s data also showed that the number of air passengers between Seoul and cities in the Gyeongsang provinces also fell since the opening of the Seoul-Busan KTX routes.

The number of air travelers between Gimpo and Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province dropped 19.8 percent compared to the six-month period from November 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010.

The route from Gimpo to Gimhae International Airport in Busan was the least affected with the number falling by 3.2 percent over the same period.

While the Gimpo-Gimhae route saw the smallest decline in monthly figures, the rate of decrease has been accelerating since February.

According to the ministry’s figures, monthly figures for the route dropped by 9.3 percent in April and by 7.6 percent in March, while for February declined by 7.2 percent. In comparison, the number of passengers on the route increased by 1.7 percent in November and 5.7 percent in January.  

By Choi He-suk  (