Saturday 16 December 2017

Aer Lingus passenger numbers down in December

An Aer Lingus plane
An Aer Lingus plane
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

THE NUMBER of passengers flying with Aer Lingus fell by 0.5pc in December, the airline has said, bringing its full-year traffic figures slightly below expectations.

The December results bring its total passenger numbers in 2013 to 9.63m people, falling just short of analyst estimates.

Capacity was reduced by 1.2pc, meaning the carrier had a load factor (the percentage of seats filled) of 73.9pc.

Its long haul business actually returned to growth during the period, with passenger number up by just shy of 12pc on a capacity increase of 5pc. Davy Stockbrokers attributed this to the company’s expansion of its transatlantic offering during the year.

It was the company’s short haul routes that saw decline, with passenger numbers down 2pc and capacity reduced by 5.1pc.

“This is a positive end to a difficult year for Aer Lingus” said Donal O’Neill, an analyst with Goodbody stockbrokers, describing the December traffic as “solid”.

“The long haul business saw an impressive 12pc increase in passenger numbers as additional capacity was well absorbed by the market” he said.

However Mr O’Neill noted that ramped-up short haul competition was taking its toll on the carrier. “Aggressive competitive activity on short haul routes in the second half of the year forced the airline to dramatically reduce capacity in the final quarter to stem the decline in average fare. We believe Aer Lingus has managed this process admirably given the

circumstances”.

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