Ryanair posted its third busiest month in terms of traffic, carrying 16 million passengers in April, as it continued to benefit from pent-up demand for air travel.
The budget airline said the figure marked a 13% increase in passenger numbers compared to the same month a year earlier, when it carried just over 14 million people, as customers looked to fly on spring breaks, even during the Easter holidays.
The Irish airline’s planes were also quite full last month, with its average ratio of empty seats per flight falling to 6%, a level not seen since last October. Their planes typically have such a low empty seat ratio only during the school summer vacation period.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, has carried more passengers in a month only twice before, in July and August last year, when it flew 16.8 million and 16.9 million passengers during peak season. of summer getaways.
The airline reported that there had been “robust demand” for this year’s Easter and summer flights in January, partly due to the return of Asian and American travelers visiting Europe to benefit from the strength of the US dollar.
Ryanair said it had canceled 220 flights over the most recent bank holiday weekend, between late April and early May, due to strikes by French air traffic control staff. He said this had affected more than 40,000 passengers.
The airline said it had been informed by French authorities that it would have to cancel at least 200 flights, most of which would have flown over France.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary last week criticized strikes, calling them “completely unacceptable.”
O’Leary apologized to the passengers affected by the strike and called on the European Commission to “take measures to protect overflights”, where a plane needs to fly through French airspace to reach its destination, saying these should not be be affected by strikes. in France.
Ryanair canceled 650 flights in April, affecting 118,000 passengers, as a result of strikes by French air traffic controllers.