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RYANAIR chief Michael O'Leary's attempt to woo back customers with lower fares and a new touchy-feely image appears to be paying off, after the airline reported a record number of passengers in December.

Some 5m people flew with Ryanair last month, a 4pc increase on the 4.8m passengers carried the previous December.

Ryanair signalled at the end of last year it was preparing to wage a price war after it was forced to issue two shock profit warnings. The airline also introduced a number of improvements after Mr O'Leary admitted some of its policies were unnecessarily annoying customers. Improvements included allowing passengers to take a second small bag on board and cutting fees for customers who don't check in online before arriving at the airport.