Ryanair keeps its lead over European low-cost rivals
Ryanair has retained its lead over Europe's low-cost carriers, according to a study by Germany's national aeronautics and space research centre, DLR.
DLR based its study on number of take-offs notched up by airlines in Europe, with Ryanair's share of total takeoffs during a sample week in January slipping to 22.5pc from 23.5pc a year earlier.
Over the past few months Ryanair has launched a massive campaign to lure more fliers, with improved customer service initiatives and a revamped website.
DLR said that Norwegian Air climbed one place to third in its rankings, while Lufthansa's Germanwings unit rose to sixth from ninth.
Takeoffs by so called low-cost airlines in Europe rose 10pc in the week examined by DLR.
There were 7,057 flights in the UK, which remained the top country for such carriers. Ryanair said last month that it expects to overtake EasyJet in the UK later this year.
Stansted is Ryanair's single biggest base and it has recently added a large number of extra services from the airport.
Italy, Germany and Spain are the next biggest countries in terms of flights by low-cost operators.
The number of routes operated by Ryanair rose 4.6pc to 1,587 in the week in January that was analysed by DLR.
Norwegian Air's climbed 29pc to 475, while Germanwings added 62pc more routes for a total of 231.
Among the new routes Germanwings is planning to launch next winter is a service between Dublin and Cologne.
DLR also said that Dublin remains the third busiest airport in Europe for budget carriers. London Gatwick stole the top spot from Barcelona's El Prat airport, while Stansted and Berlin Tegel fell in behind Dublin.
Europe's airlines have been battling intense pricing competition in recent months.
Ryanair predicted last November that its full-year profit for the financial year that ended last month would fall for the first time in five years. It releases those full-year results next month.
In September, Ryanair will receive the first aircraft as part of a 175-aircraft order it placed with Boeing last year.
That will eventually push the carrier's fleet to over 400 aeroplanes.