Korea's international air passenger traffic hit a new high for October due a large increase in passengers to and from China and Southeast Asian countries, the government said Thursday.
The number of international air passengers to and from Korea grew 6.8 percent from the same month last year to 4.09 million in October, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
The figure is the highest for the month of October with the previous record of 3.83 million set in the same month last year.
"International air passenger traffic surged to a record high for October last month due to a large increase in the number of foreign visitors coming to South Korea for vacation and shopping," the ministry said in a press release.
The number of foreign tourists visiting the country this year topped 10 million as of Wednesday, the government said earlier.
In October, air passengers to and from China surged 12.1 percent from a year earlier to about 1.01 million with passengers to and from Southeast Asian countries jumping 14.5 percent on-year to over 1.33 million.
Passengers to and from Japan dropped 6.9 percent on-year to 915,989 amid what the ministry called "soared relations" between the two countries due to diplomatic tension surrounding Japan's claim to Dokdo, a set of Korean islets in the East Sea.
Of the total, 66 percent of all international passengers to and from Korea used flights offered by the country's two flag carriers with the number of passengers on the country's low-cost carriers growing 3.1 percentage points from a year before to 7.8 percent, according to the ministry.
The number of passengers on domestic flights, on the other hand, inched down from 2.03 million in October 2011 to 2.02 million last month. (Yonhap)