Korean carriers see 29% record rise in passengers in first six months of 2024

Asiana Airlines South Korea
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South Korean carriers, including Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, have seen a 29% rise in passenger numbers during the first six months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.  

According to government data reported by The Korea Times, a record 47 million passengers flew with the nation’s airlines between January and June 2025, up from 36.83 million a year ago. 

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, published data revealing 18.15 million passengers flew on domestic services on local airlines while 29.41 million caught international flights.  

Some of the low-cost carriers included in the data are Jeju Air, Jin Air, T’way Air, Air Busan and Air Seoul. 

The Korean Times reported that the rise in passengers was driven by low-cost carriers’ operations on short-haul flights to Japan and Southeast Asia and a weak South Korean won. 

If the second half of 2024 continues on the same trajectory, then passenger numbers could exceed 100 million, and rise above the pre-COVID pandemic high of 93.47 million in 2019. 

On July 3, 2024, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said global passenger numbers were up 10.7% in May 2024 compared to the same month in 2023.  

“Strong demand for travel continues with airlines posting a 10.7% year-on-year increase in travel for May. Airlines filled 83.4% of their seats, a record for the month. With May ticket sales for early peak-season travel up nearly 6%, the growth trend shows no signs of abating,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

The IATA also said that Asia-Pacific airlines continue to lead the way, with a 27.0% year-on-year increase in demand and that Asian carriers were the “largest contributor to industry-wide growth in May”. 

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