Budget airlines see traffic increase in October

Budget airlines saw a small boost in traffic figures in October, with easyJet, Aer Lingus and Ryanair all recording year-on-year growth in passengers.

Budget airlines saw a small boost in traffic figures in October, with easyJet, Aer Lingus and Ryanair all recording year-on-year growth in passengers.

The three stocks were performing well on Tuesday afternoon, with easyJet, Aer Lingus and Ryanair gaining 0.3%, 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

FTSE 250 budget airline easyJet reported that it flew a total of 5,245,201 passengers last month, a 6.2% increase on October 2011. That's an acceleration from the 5.2% growth seen in September.

As easyJet is a 'no-refund' airline, passenger figures represent the number of booked seats flown regardless of whether customers turn up or not.

Meanwhile, the load factor - a key measure that airlines use to judge how full their planes are - decreased by 0.4 percentage points (pp) year-on-year to 88.4% in October.

Irish operator Aer Lingus said that total flown passenger numbers rose by 0.9% year-on-year last month to 962,000. Its mainline flown passenger load factor increased by 1.5pp to 79.2%.

As for sector peer Ryanair, passenger numbers gained 4% to 7.54m, the seventh month in succession that the airline has carried over 7.0m passengers, the company said.

Ryanair boasted that it remains the only airline across the whole of Europe to carry over 7.0m passengers in one month. However, its load factor fell by 2.0pp year-on-year to 82%.

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