Two of London’s main budget airlines showed that they have far from recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, as the number of passengers they carried dropped in January.
Even when compared to Omicron-hit December, the airlines said that they had lost 2.7m passengers between them.
Ryanair was the worst hit in January when compared to the month before. The number of passengers that it carried dropped 26 per cent– from 9.5m to just 7m.
Meanwhile, Wizz Air saw its passenger figures dip 9 per cent to 2.4m, it revealed on Wednesday.
Industry under pressure
The data casts new light on the challenging situation faced by airlines. Around the world many planes have been grounded for months at a time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Governments put restrictions on international travel early on in a bid to slow the spread of the virus across borders.
But investors are now hoping that the airlines can move beyond Covid. The share price of both companies has recovered and is now trading at around, or above, its pre-pandemic level.
It is a different story at rival IAG, which owns British Airways. Investors are clearly worried about the firm and its shares price is nearly two thirds lower than before the pandemic.
Wednesday’s figures have something to cheer for both budget airlines. Wizz Air showed that it had more than quadrupled the number of passengers it carried compared to January 2021 – but it is still lagging behind its figures from a year before that.
Ryanair showed an even larger jump, increasing its passenger numbers more than fivefold.
It flew 46,000 flights in January, and its planes were 79 per cent full. Wizz Air’s so-called load factor was 79.6 per cent.