Low-Cost UK Airlines Post Increases

Ryanair and easyJet both saw increases in passenger numbers and load factors in September, while British Airways' numbers fell.

Ryanair’s passenger numbers increased by 17 percent to 6.12 million—three times more than BA carried in Europe. The airline's load factor—the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available—rose by 1 percent to 85 percent.

Easyjet carried 4.42m passengers in September, a 5.3 percent increase on last year. Its load factor was up by 1.2 percent to 88.1 percent.

By contrast, BA’s European passenger numbers dipped by 2.9 percent to 1.8 million. BA’s overall traffic also decreased by 1.7 percent to 2.92 million. The small dip masked a huge drop in passenger numbers on its Asia Pacific routes by 17.7 percent to 135,000, compared to 164,000 a year ago. BA also saw another fall in premium traffic, by 7.9 percent compared to September 2008.

However, there were a couple of bright spots, America-bound traffic was up by 3.4 percent to 684,000 and Africa and Middle East traffic climbed by 3.9 percent to 282,000. BA’s load factors also rose overall to 81.3 percent—up 2.4 points. By market load factors were up everywhere except Africa and the Middle East, which fell by 1.9 points.

In almost direct defiance of the economic climate, BA launched its first all-business airline from London City Airport last month.