Ryanair flew 17 million passengers last month, 10 per cent more than the 15.4 million it carried in May 2022, figures show.
The figure indicates the airline’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis remains well under way as it comfortably exceeded the 13.5 million passengers who travelled with Ryanair during the same month in 2019, the year before the pandemic struck.
Ryanair operated more than 94,400 flights last month. However, it noted that more than 300 flights were cancelled due to air traffic control strikes in the month, which it said discommoded 54,000 customers.
The airline sold 94 per cent of the seats available on its aircraft, against 92 per cent in May 2022. The airline had flown 171.9 million passengers in total over the 12 months to the end of May, which was up 39 per cent on the year before.
It emerged in recent days that more than one million people have signed a Ryanair petition demanding that the European Commission protect holidaymakers’ flights during French air traffic control strikes.
Ryanair wants the commission to protect flights that are passing through the country’s air space but which do not land there, as these are worst hit during French air traffic control strikes that have already disrupted millions of travellers so far this year.
The airline delivered a petition, Protect Overflights: Keep EU Skies Open, on Wednesday to commission president Ursula von der Leyen containing 1.1 million signatures from “fed-up passengers” who want overflights protected.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair chief executive, pointed out that French minimum service laws protect domestic and short-haul flights during strikes, disproportionately hitting services passing through its air space between other European countries.
“People stuck in Ireland cannot get to Italy, people in Germany cannot get to Spain, people in Poland cannot get to Portugal and so on,” said Mr O’Leary.
He added that if France “wants to cancel flights” it could axe domestic services or short-haul services taking off from there, as travellers have other options including driving or public transport.