Ryanair took the edge over Easyjet in growth in passenger numbers for May, according to figures released separately by the two airlines.
The British Isles’ two biggest budget airlines both reported increased customer numbers, with Ryanair seeing growth of 11 per cent in May compared to the same month last year, to reach 11.8m overall.
Easyjet, meanwhile, saw growth of 9.5 per cent, with 7.5m passengers during May.
In year to May as a whole Ryanair traffic grew by 13 per cent to reach 122.5m customers, compared to Easyjet’s 8.2 per cent growth and 77.3m passengers over the year.
Meanwhile the crucial load factor measure, which indicates the proportion of available seats the airline was able to fill, rose by one per cent in May year-on-year for Ryanair to reach 95 per cent, compared with Easyjet’s flat 91.5 per cent load factor.
Ryanair said lower fares and a better customer experience programme had prompted the passenger increases.
Easyjet has struggled in the last year from the impact of weaker sterling since the EU referendum. Last month it reported a loss before tax of £236m in the half year to March with currency effects blamed.
Irish carrier Ryanair, by contrast, last week reported a record net profit of €1.32bn for the year, driven by the rising passenger numbers.
The airline, which reports in euros and is therefore much more insulated from weaker sterling, has said it will move its focus away from the UK market.