Ryanair leads the way for resurgent budget airlines

ByTravelling For Business

October 5, 2022
They may not be operating hugely profitably and there is a long tricky winter ahead of sky-high fuel prices, but two of Europe’s leading budget airlines are now flying more passengers than they did before the pandemic.

Ryanair, Europe’s biggest short-haul airline, reported that it carried a record 15.9 million passengers last month after consecutive record best months for July and August in the industry’s key summer trading quarter.

The Irish airline said the latest figures show that on an annualised rolling 12-month basis, its traffic volumes topped 153 million. Before the pandemic hit it was carrying 149 million passengers a year.

Wizz Air, the third-largest of the budget airlines, said it carried 4.5 million passengers in September, nearly 20 per cent more than in September 2019. On a rolling 12-month basis, Wizz said it has carried 41 million passengers — higher than the 40 million in the last 12 months before the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Ryanair said its planes are now at 94 per cent capacity. Wizz, which is strongest in the eastern European markets around its original home in Hungary, is flying 87 per cent full, historically a lowish number for it. EasyJet, the second-largest of the European short-haul specialists, does not report traffic volumes on a monthly basis.