EasyJet suffers a hangover from French strikes as Ryanair surges ahead

Billy Ehrenberg
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Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary (Source: Getty)

EasyJet managed to shake off the effects of French transport strikes to post a 3.8 per cent increase in passengers.

The figures

EasyJet said that, compared to April 2014, it had had 12 times (602) the number of flights cancelled, mostly due to air traffic control strikes in France.

Nevertheless, the number of passengers flying with the airline increased 3.8 per cent to 6m compared to April last year, and 6.8 per cent on a rolling 12-month basis. That put the number of passengers flying with the airline at 66.2m for the 12 months to April 30 2015.

The load factor, a measure of how many of seats EasyJet fills, rose one percentage point to 90.8 per cent, and 1.3 percentage points to 91 per cent for the last 12 months.

Why it’s interesting

It’s no secret that EasyJet is locked in a battle for the skies with Ryanair. While EasyJet’s numbers are going in the right direction, Ryanair is improving at a far faster rate, helped by chief executive Michael O’Leary’s charm offensive – the airline has removed features like added costs that put off potential customers.

On 5 May, Ryanair revealed that, at 9m, its passenger numbers were 16 per cent higher in April 2015 than in April 2014, and its load factor 7 percentage points up at 91 per cent.

Low oil prices are certainly a factor in the increased number of flights, as the lower cost of fuel is passed on to passengers.

What EasyJet said

EasyJet cancelled 602 flights in April 2015 against 48 in April 2014. The increase in cancellations was largely driven by air traffic control strikes in France.

In short

EasyJet will hope to shake off the effects of the strikes and re-join the battle for budget air supremacy.

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