Aer Lingus, the Irish flag-carrier, saw its passengers fall 13.6 per cent in the year to the end of February, according to traffic figures published yesterday. The airline said the number of long-haul passengers it carried hit 38,000 last month, down 17.4 per cent compared to the same month a year ago. Its short-haul passengers totalled 574,000, down 13.6 per cent on an annual basis. Aer Lingus’ total load factor – a measure of how well an airline fills its planes – slipped 2.5 percentage points over the year to the end of February to 67.4 per cent. Short-haul booked load factor was 69.9 per cent, a decrease of 0.9 points on the same month a year earlier.