Travel boom: EasyJet, Wizz Air and Norwegian all increase passenger numbers

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Europe's budget airlines have increased capacity and passenger numbers (Source: Norwegian)

The travel industry boom continued to show it has legs (or wings) this morning as three of Europe's budget airlines reported increased passenger numbers for October.

EasyJet

FTSE 100 airline EasyJet grew its number of passengers by 9.9 per cent in October, bringing the monthly total to over 7.5m people.

It also increased efficiency, with the load factor increasing to 92.5 per cent, up from 90.2 per cent last year.

But there were more cancellations last month, as the French ATC strike and Storms Brian and Ophelia caused 434 cancellations compared with 164 in 2016. 

Over the past 12 months, EasyJet carried 80.9m passengers, 10 per cent more than the previous period.

EasyJet is set to increase its capacity even further after agreeing to take on certain assets from the defunct Air Berlin and hire 1,000 of its staff.

Read more: EasyJet agrees employment terms to save 1,000 Air Berlin jobs

Wizz Air

Meanwhile, its smaller but faster growing rival Wizz Air increased its load factor by a similar amount, up to 92.1 per cent from 90 per cent.

This coincided with a 27.5 per cent increase in capacity to almost 3m seats as the airline added 13 new routes. Passenger numbers were up 30.5 per cent on last October to 2.6m.

On a rolling 12-month basis, Wizz Air has increased its capacity by nearly 30 per cent, while passenger numbers have risen 33.5 per cent.

Read more: Wizz Air on track for flying revenues as airline gets Brexit-ready

Norwegian

Norwegian chalked up slightly higher numbers than Wizz Air, carrying more than 3.1m passengers in October, marking a 14 per cent increase. This was accompanied by a 31 per cent increase in capacity, but the airline's load factor was shy of its competitors, at 87.4 per cent.

"The growth is highest on our intercontinental routes and the overall demand is satisfactory and stable," noted chief executive Bjørn Kjos.

"The competition is still strong, so global expansion is important to position ourselves in the market.”

Read more: Norwegian shares take off after airline gets green light for US flights