Ryanair carries 11.1 million passengers in August

Airline breaks 10 million mark for the first time since Covid struck in March 2020

Ryanair forecasts its capacity, the number of flights and seats, will return to pre-pandemic levels in October, from 90 per cent now. Photograph:  Paul Faith

Ryanair forecasts its capacity, the number of flights and seats, will return to pre-pandemic levels in October, from 90 per cent now. Photograph: Paul Faith

 

Ryanair flew 11.1 million passengers in August, passing the 10-million mark for the first time since Covid-19 hit in March 2020.

Figures published by the airline on Thursday show it sold 82 per cent of the seats on the 71,000 flights it operated last month.

The last time in which Ryanair exceeded 10 million passengers in a month was in March 2020, the month that most European governments shut down travel in the face of rising Covid numbers, when it carried 10.9 million passengers.

The figure is more than 50 per cent ahead of the seven million passengers who flew with the airline in August 2020.

However, it is 25 per cent short of the 14.9 million that Ryanair hit in August 2019, which was its busiest month that year.

Earlier this week, Ryanair Holdings chief executive Michael O’Leary confirmed the carrier was going to beat a 10.5 million target for the month.

‘Strong recovery’

He also predicted that it would fly 10.5 million passengers this month, and in October and November, against a previous forecast of 10 million for each.

“As long as there are no adverse Covid developments, things are set fair for a very strong recovery,” Mr O’Leary told news agency Reuters.

Ryanair’s capacity, the number of flights and seats, will return to pre-pandemic levels in October, from 90 per cent currently.

However, planes will not be as full. It expects to sell between 82 and 85 per cent of seats, against more than 90 per cent ahead of the pandemic.

Mr O’Leary said that flights would be cheaper than they were pre-Covid this winter, although they would continue to build.

“We don’t expect pricing to go back to pre-Covid levels until the summer of 2022,” he said.

Capacity moved

Ryanair believes it will fly between 90 and 100 million passengers in its current financial year, which ends on March 31st, 2022.

Previously, it had said the figure would be at “the lower end” of an 80-100 million range.

Ryanair is moving 10-20 per cent of Irish capacity to other countries where air travel is recovering faster, according to its chief executive.

Mr O’Leary recently repeated criticism of Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport, that he had done nothing for aviation for 13 months.

Recent figures from air traffic control body Eurocontrol showed that flights in or out of the Republic were half pre-pandemic levels, against 70 per cent for the rest of Europe.