Ryanair share price rises as passengers soar more than a quarter in March

 
Emma Haslett
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Oil prices and customer service improvements pushed passenger numbers up (Source: Ryanair)

Confirmation Ryanair's attempts to show its softer side are working? Passenger numbers at the airline rose 28 per cent in March, figures published this morning showed.

Ryanair said it carried 6.7m passengers during the month, up from 5.2m in March last year. Its load factor - how full its planes were, on average - rose from 80 per cent to 90 per cent.

The airline - whose chief executive, Michael O'Leary, is famously outspoken - went on a PR drive back in 2013, cutting baggage and boarding pass fees in an attempt to improve its image among passengers.

It's likely oil prices were also a factor - the price of a barrel of Brent crude, the international benchmark, has almost halved since last March, from $111.20 in 2014 to a low of $53.94 last month.

Today chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said Ryanair's customer service improvements will continue.

Our "Always Getting Better" customer programme... continues to deliver better than expected load factors on our significantly expanded winter schedule.

Shares rose 1.29 per cent to 11p in early trading.

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