Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair sets new passenger record despite ATC strikes

By John Mulligan

Ryanair boosted its passenger numbers by 11% to 10.6 million last month despite a raft of air traffic control (ATC) strikes in continental Europe that resulted in airlines cancelling hundreds of flights.

Another strike by French controllers yesterday - the 13th in 14 weeks - caused more chaos for travellers across Europe. Italian air traffic controllers are due to strike later this month.

Ryanair's June traffic figures were another record for the carrier.

Its load factor, or percentage of available seats filled, climbed one percentage.

It carried 109.6 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of June, a 16% increase on the previous 12-month period.

Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said that the numbers were also delivered at lower fares.

Ryanair said earlier this year that the cheaper fuel prices would result in air fares falling across Europe.

Some airlines don't have fuel-hedging policies, and so were able to pass on savings immediately to customers in the form of lower ticket prices.

Mr Jacobs also called for ATC disruption to be tackled.

"We are again calling on the European Commission to urgently take action to reduce the impact of these ATC strikes on Europe's citizens and the single market," he said.

Pressure group Airlines for Europe (A4E), of which Ryanair is a member along with other carriers such as easyJet, Lufthansa, and IAG, yesterday also urged the EC to intervene. A study released by A4E last week showed that between 2010 and 2015, the overall impact of ATC strikes reduced European Union gross domestic product up to €9.5bn (£8m).

A4E said that ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and France since March this year have resulted in over 3,500 flight cancellations among its member airlines.

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