Budget airlines are carrying more passengers than ever
Travellers trying to find the cheapest way home for Christmas pushed Ryanair and Wizz Air into massive growth through December.
Ryanair has released figures that show the number of passengers it carried last month grew by 12 per cent year-on-year to 10.3 million, while Wizz Air’s passenger numbers jumped by 18.3 per cent to 2.6 million over the same period.
This means that over 2018 Ryanair carried 139.2 million people, an eight per cent increase on 2017, and Wizz flew 54.4 million — up 20 per cent on 2017.
Ryanair also announced in a press release that they operated 57,000 flights last month with 81 per cent arriving on time. The airline claims this was the best punctuality of any major EU carrier.
The Irish budget carrier’s figures include Laudamotion — the airline acquired by former Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda at the beginning of 2018. In March 2018, Ryanair took a 24.9 per cent stake in the carrier, which will increase to 75 per cent.
Laudamotion carried 0.3 million people in December and Ryanair flew 10 million — a growth of nine per cent for the carrier overall.
As it celebrated flying 40 million passengers through London Luton last month, Wizz announced an expansion at the airport. With two new Airbus A321ceo planes, it will launch six new routes for summer 2019.
Wizz hopes that it will become the largest carrier based at Luton, which is also easyJet’s home. It is expecting a 42 per cent market share — or 8.7 million seats.
Ryanair also announced new routes from London Stansted in December to Kalamata in Greece, Rodez in France and Vigo in Spain. The carrier had already said that it would fly from the airport to Kiev, Lviv and Nantes.
The number of routes Ryanair flies from Stansted in summer 2019 will be 142 in total.