Ryanair flew a record number of passengers for the fourth month in a row in August but admitted it had cancelled 350 flights due to the recent air traffic control scandal.
The low-cost carrier said it had carried 18.9m passengers, up 11 per cent year-on-year and representing an increase from a July record of 18.7m.
Ryanair’s figures provide a fitting end as one of the busiest summer seasons of travel on record draws to a close, and came alongside further reported passenger rises at budget rival Wizz Air.
Over six million passengers flew with Wizz in August, representing a 23.9 per cent year-on-year increase and taking its rolling total for the year to 62m, up from 47m in 2022.
Load factor, which refers to the proportion of seats filled by its passengers, remained strong for both airlines – at 96 per cent and 94.1 per cent for Ryanair and Wizz Air respectively.
Pent-up demand stemming from the pandemic has swept across the sector this summer, with carriers including Easyjet and British Airways-owner the IAG all reporting huge profits.
The IAG raked in a staggering €1.25bn (£1.07bn) profit in its July results.
But it has also been a summer marred by disruption, with air traffic control chaos in the UK and France, as well as wildfires in Southern Europe, forcing carriers to cancel thousands of flights.
Ryanair said today that the air traffic control failure in the UK last week had resulted in the cancellation of over 350 flights affecting 63,000 passengers and questioned why the cause had “still not been explained.”
Industrial action in France as a result of Macron’s pension reforms has seen hundreds of French ATC workers stage repeat walk-outs, resulting in Easyjet cancelling over 1,700 flights.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper will today receive the results of the UK aviation watchdog’s independent inquiry into the air traffic system failure last week. It will likely spark further debate over the resilience of the European system.