Monday 5 December 2016

Ryanair boosts June passenger traffic despite French strikes

Published 06/07/2016 | 02:30

Passengers check flight information at Marseille-Provence Airport last month amid a strike by air traffic controllers
Passengers check flight information at Marseille-Provence Airport last month amid a strike by air traffic controllers

Ryanair boosted its passenger numbers by 11pc to 10.6 million last month despite a raft of air traffic control (ATC) strikes in continental Europe that resulted in airlines cancelling hundreds of flights.

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Another strike by French controllers yesterday - the 13th in 14 weeks - caused more chaos for travellers across Europe. Italian air traffic controllers are due to strike later this month.

Ryanair's June traffic figures were another record for the carrier.

Its load factor, or percentage of available seats filled, climbed one percentage point to 94pc.

The airline carried 109.6 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of June, a 16pc increase on the previous 12-month period.

The airline's chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said the numbers were also delivered at lower fares.

Ryanair warned earlier this year that the cheaper fuel prices would result in air fares falling across Europe.

Some airlines don't have fuel-hedging policies, and so were able to pass on savings immediately to customers in the form of lower ticket prices.

Mr Jacobs also called for air traffic control disruption to be tackled.

"We are again calling on the European Commission to urgently take action to reduce the impact of these ATC strikes on Europe's citizens and the single market," he said.

Pressure group Airlines for Europe (A4E), of which Ryanair is a member along with other carriers such as EasyJet, Lufthansa, and IAG, yesterday also urged the European Commission to intervene.

A study released by A4E last week showed that between 2010 and 2015, the overall impact of air traffic control strikes reduced European Union gross domestic product up to €9.5bn.

A4E said that ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and France since March this year have resulted in over 3,500 flight cancellations among its member airlines, and more than 16,000 hours of delays across all airlines operating in European airspace.

IAG, which owns Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, also released traffic figures for June yesterday.

Revenue passenger kilometres at Aer Lingus - a measure of the number of passengers carried - rose 5.9pc in June, and was 9.3pc higher in the year to date, according to the data.

IAG's group airlines carried a total of 9.45 million passengers in June, 7.1pc higher than June last year, on a pro-forma basis.

Irish Independent

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