EasyJet’s November traffic rises as strike threat dents Aer Lingus

Marion Dakers
EASYJET yesterday posted a jump in traffic for November alongside news that it will start flying to Newquay, while low-cost rival Aer Lingus said its traffic was hit by the threat of industrial action.

Passenger numbers for EasyJet last month were up 7.7 per cent on a year ago to 4.12m. In the 12 months to November, traffic jumped 7.3 per cent to top 59m.

The firm’s load factor, a measure of how full its planes are, rose 1.3 percentage points to 89.6 per cent last month.

EasyJet announced a new route from Southend to Newquay yesterday, with the first flight taking off next summer.

The firm’s UK commercial manager Hugh Aitken said its flights would be quicker than the existing road and rail routes linking London with the south west of England.

“London Southend Airport is our newest and fastest growing UK base with over 400,000 passengers travelling with EasyJet since its opening in March this year,” he added. Meanwhile Aer Lingus said its overall passenger numbers rose 2.1 per cent to 766,000 in November, slower than its year-to-date growth trend of 3.6 per cent.

Short-haul traffic slipped 2.2 per cent to 593,000 as the airline endured the threat of industrial action from members of Siptu, Ireland’s largest trade union.

But the firm’s traffic stats were given a boost by its burgeoning regional services, which grew 28 per cent to 86,000 last month.

Aer Lingus is awaiting the outcome of a European probe into Ryanair’s takeover bid for the firm earlier this year. The European Commission has set a 6 February deadline for its decision.