SEOUL-- South Korea's low-cost carriers (LCCs) posted a 51 percent on-year jump in the number of passengers they served on international routes in the January-May period as they took advantage of low fares and diversified routes, the transport ministry said Monday.

The number of local passengers who used the full-service carriers (FSCs) for overseas travel fell 5.4 percent year-over-year to 2.45 million in the first five months of 2017. In contrast, passengers who chose LCCs over FSCs on international routes soared to 1.50 million during the same period, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation.

FSCs are represented by Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc.

"Budget carriers are expected to carry more passengers as they offer reasonable prices and are diversifying more mid and long-haul routes to woo customers," a ministry official said.

On domestic routes, nearly 60 percent of customers opted to use LCCs in the January-May period due mainly to competitive prices, he said.

In 2016, the country's six budget carriers -- Jin Air, Jeju Air, Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet and T'way Air Co. -- transported 56.8 percent of the passengers on domestic routes and 19.6 percent of passengers traveling abroad. The figures mark a gain from 54.6 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Last year, passengers on domestic routes jumped 11 percent on-year to 30.91 million and passengers on international routes climbed 19 percent to 73 million, it said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency