Passenger numbers rise at Irish airlines
Long haul routes bring boost for Aer Lingus but Ryanair tops 9m passengers in August
An Aer Lingus jet prepares to land at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Long haul routes performed better for Aer Lingus in August, with passenger traffic rising. Photograph: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg
August brought a rise in passenger traffic for Irish airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair, with both carriers seeing an increase compared with the same month in 2012.
The number of passengers flying with Aer Lingus and its regional services rose by almost 1 per cent in August, with more than 1.1 million passengers travelling with the airline.
The main increase was seen in the company’s long haul routes, however, with short haul passengers falling in the month. Just over 884,000 people flew with Aer Lingus’s main airline for short haul trips, a fall of 2.4 per cent on the previous year.
However, long haul passengers rose by 17.5 per cent to 121,000 as the airline increased its capacity on those routes.
Load factor, a measure of how full the planes are, was down 0.7 points to 86.6 per cent, with short haul load factor down 2.5 per cent to 82.1 per cent as capacity fell by 1.9 per cent.. Long haul flown load factor was 94.9 per cent, up 1.7 points on August 2012 and with a 15.7 per cent increase in capacity year on year.
Aer Lingus Regional carried 121,000 passengers last month, a rise of more than 13 per cent.
More than 7.3 million passengers have flown with Aer Lingus and its regional services in the year to date.
Separately Ryanair said its passenger traffic had also increased by 1 per cent, rising to more than nine million passengers. The no-frills carrier said its load factor was 89 per cent for its routes, a rise of 1 per cent year on year.
“Ryanair carried over 9 million passengers in August 2013, the first European airline to do so,” Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said.
In the year to date, Ryanair has carried more than 80 million passengers, 2 per cent higher compared to last year.
However, the company yesterday warned that full-year profit would be at the lower end of its forecast range of €570 million to €600 million, after a heatwave across Europe trimmed bookings and sterling grew weaker. That triggered a fall in the company’s share price that wiped €1.1 billion from its value.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary also said the company was facing increased price competition and capacity in Ireland, Britain, Spain and Scandinavia.
Meanwhile, British airline easyjet said its August passenger traffic was more than 6.1 million, 3.9 per cent higher than the 5.8 million recorded a year earlier.