Belfast Telegraph

Irene fails to dampen Aer Lingus numbers

By Heather McGarrigle

Aer Lingus has announced an overall increase in passenger numbers for August, despite disruption caused by Hurricane Irene.

The total number of passengers booked to fly with the Irish airline in August was 1,030,000, a 1.8% increase on the same time last year.

Short haul passenger numbers, which account for most of Aer Lingus' bookings, were up 2.4% on 2010.

The numbers paying for long haul flights fell, but this was attributed to Hurricane Irene's impact on transatlantic travel.

The airline said last month's passenger figures represented "a continuation of the positive trend noted in Aer Lingus' recent results for the second quarter of 2011".

"Short haul passenger metrics were positive in August and more than offset the effects of reduced long haul capacity caused by Hurricane Irene at the end of the month," it added.

However, year-to-date figures show 2011 hasn't been as busy as 2010 for the carrier so far. Total passengers flying with Aer Lingus has dropped 1.4%, from 6,649,000 in 2010 to 6,557,000 for this year.