Christmas rush helps UK airlines end the year with rising traffic

Marion Dakers
THE CHRISTMAS getaway has pushed up ticket sales at some of the country’s biggest airlines, according to figures out yesterday.

EasyJet said traffic rose 4.9 per cent on a year ago to 4.34m in December. Its load factor – a measure of how much the firm fills its planes – rose 2.3 percentage points to 87.9 per cent.

The figures mean EasyJet carried 59.2m passengers during 2012, up 6.7 per cent on the previous year.

Ryanair carried nearly 80m passengers last year, it revealed in figures also out yesterday. In December the budget airline attracted 4.84m passengers, up two per cent on last year, with a load factor of 81 per cent.

For the year, Ryanair carried 79.6m passengers, a rise of four per cent.

Irish rival Aer Lingus posted a 7.2 per cent traffic increase to 734,000 for the month. The Dublin-based firm carried 10.66m passengers in the year – a rise of 3.8 per cent.

British Airways parent firm IAG fared less well, as Spanish arm Iberia continues to suffer from tough economic conditions and a fierce union dispute.

Group traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, rose by 0.3 per cent in December.