The strength of the low-cost model in adversity has been proved again this summer as Ryanair and easyJet both posted buoyant traffic.
The budget heavyweights collectively sold 12.88m seats in August, a rise of 10.5 percent year-on-year. Ryanair gained further market share by growing 12 percent to 7.88m against easyJet’s total of 5.2m, an increase of 8.4 percent.
However easyJet filled more of its seats achieving a 92.3 percent load factor, up 0.5 percent against Ryanair’s 89 percent, down from 90 percent a year ago.
easyJet said the suggestion that the public is not taking holidays abroad appears to be unfounded.
A spokesman said: “The demand for going abroad remains strong. People might be avoiding the expensive holidays that cost thousands of pounds, but a budget European flight is the option people seem to be taking.”
Over the 12 month period easyJet has seen total passenger numbers rise 7.7 percent to 48.4m and the load factor rise 1.5 percent to 86.9 percent. Ryanair was up 13.6 percent to 70.9m but the load factor fell 8 percent to 82 percent.
However the Ryanair figures included 1.45m passengers who were booked on flights but unable to fly because of what it describes as the “unnecessary closures” of EU airspace during the Icelandic volcanic ash crisis.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive, said he was cautious about the outlook for the rest of the year after releasing first-quarter figures in July and predicting fare increases averaging 10-15 percent in the second quarter.
Meanwhile Eurotunnel enjoyed record traffic over the summer, with the number of cars carried on passengers shuttles in the two months end 31 August were up 17 percent on a year earlier at 533,238. A new daily record was set on 14 August when 14,825 cars and 150 coaches used the cross-Channel link.