Belfast Telegraph

EasyJet lifts customer numbers despite continued French strike action

The budget carrier is one of a number of airlines complaining to the European Commission about a possible breach of rules on freedom of movement.

Easyjet was lifted by growth in customer numbers last month, but has warned about the continued impact of industrial action in France.

The budget airline’s passenger numbers were up by 4.5% in July from 8.17 million to 8.54 million.

This brought the rolling, 12-month total of passenger numbers to 83.64 million by the end of last month, a 6.2% increase year-on-year.

EasyJet’s load factor, a measure of how well airlines fill their planes, was 96.9%, up from 96.8% in July last year.

The numbers were an improvement on June’s figures, when the number of passengers flown rose 2.3% to 7.9 million.

The airline cancelled nearly 1,300 flights in June, with around 900 due to French and Italian strike action and a further 150 caused by air traffic control (ATC) restrictions and poor weather.

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French strike action has led to many flight cancellations (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Easyjet said the same factors meant it had cancelled a number of flights in July.

The firm was also hit by a runway closure in Gatwick airport.

“While they were predominantly outside of the airline’s control, we have ensured we have looked after any customers disrupted by providing alternative flights and hotel accommodation,” the company said.

“EasyJet also submitted a complaint to the European Commission last month over the continued industrial action.”

British Airways owner International Airlines Group has co-ordinated a group of airlines including easyJet, Ryanair, and Wizz Air to complain to the European Commission about strikes in France.

The airlines have claimed that France’s strikes breach the “fundamental principle of freedom of movement within the EU”, having already caused tens of thousands of flights to be cancelled this year, impacting upon millions of passengers.

They alleged that France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes, denying passengers their fundamental freedom to travel between member states not affected by strike action.

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