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Ryanair carried 72.7m in 2010

RYANAIR recorded five million passengers last month, a 2pc rise on the corresponding month in 2009, according to data from the airline released yesterday.

The figure represents the number of booked seats sold by Ryanair -- not necessarily the number of passengers who actually flew with the airline.

December snowfalls across Ireland and the UK, as well as other European countries, forced the cancellation of a large number of flights.

The carrier said its load factor slipped one percentage point in December to 81pc, compared to the corresponding month in 2009. Ryanair recorded 72.7 million passengers in 2010 and a load factor of 82pc.

The passenger numbers include nearly 1.5 million who were booked on flights that were cancelled due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption during the year.

BA said yesterday that snow disruption last month cost it in the region of £50m (€60m).

Ryanair also announced the launch of a new twice-weekly service between Cork and Milan Bergamo yesterday. It will start on June 2.

Shares in Ryanair were virtually unchanged at €3.90.

Irish Independent