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Number of South Korean air travellers fall to lowest since 1997

South Korean Air

Seoul, May 20 (UITV/IANS)- The number of South Korean air travellers fell to the lowest level since January 1997 in April due to entry restrictions and lower demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, industry data showed on Tuesday.

The number of air passengers on domestic and international routes here plunged to 1.35 million last month, down 22 per cent from 1.74 million a month earlier and down 87 per cent from 10.14 million a year earlier, according to Air Portal, an aviation data provider operated by the Korea Civil Aviation Association (KCA).

The April figure marked the lowest level since January 1997, when the corresponding number reached 3.7 million, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Local airlines have suspended most of their flights on international routes since March as an increasing number of countries have closed their borders or have taken other measures related to incoming passengers due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of flights operated by local airlines also plummeted 73 per cent to 16,057 in April from 59,294 a year earlier, the data showed.

In May, Air Portal said it expected travel demand to recover compared with last month, with domestic air travel demand on the rise as the COVID-19 outbreak seems to have passed its peak.

From May 1-17, the number of domestic air travelers jumped 55 per cent to 1.04 million from 668,143 in the same period of last month, Air Portal said.

Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc., the country's two biggest carriers, plan to start resuming flights on dozens of international routes in June as they prepare for increased travel demand after countries ease entry restrictions.