Ryanair and easyJet both saw increases in passenger numbers and load factors in September – at the expense of British Airways.
Ryanair’s passenger numbers increased by 17% to 6.12m – three times more than BA carried in Europe.
Its load factor – the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available – rose by 1% to 85%.
Despite the sharp increases, Ryanair dismissed reports in the Financial Times claiming that it could take control of Aer Lingus through a rights issue, as reported on BTN yesterday.
Easyjet carried 4.42m passengers in September, a 5.3% increase on last year. Its load factor was up by 1.2% to 88.1%.
By contrast, BA’s European passenger numbers dipped by 2.9% to 1.8 million.
BA’s overall traffic also decreased, by 1.7% to 2.92 million.
The small dip masked a huge drop in passenger numbers on its Asia Pacific routes by 17.7% to 135,000, compared to 164,000 a year ago.
BA also saw another fall in premium traffic, by 7.9% compared to September 2008.
However, there were a couple of bright spots, America-bound traffic was up by 3.4% to 684,000 and Africa and Middle East traffic climbed by 3.9% to 282,000.
BA’s load factors also rose overall to 81.3% – up 2.4 points.
By market load factors were up everywhere except Africa and the Middle East, which fell by 1.9 points.
A BA statement read: “Market conditions remain unchanged with yields under pressure from the year on year impact of lower fuel surcharges, exchange movements and mix.”
Despite the uncertain climate, BA launched its first all-business airline from London City Airport last month.