Ryanair kick-started the new year with 17% jump in passenger carryings.

Europe’s dominant low fares airline carried 8.77 million passengers in January against 7.5 million in the same month last year.

The year-on-year passenger load factor rose by two percentage points to 90%.

The January figures gave Ryanair a 15% boost in rolling annual passenger numbers to 118.3 million.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs attributed January’s rise in traffic to lower fares and the carrier’s ongoing ‘Always Getting Better’ customer improvement initiative.

He added: “Customers can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for summer 2017.”

The figures came as Ryanair announced a new route from Stansted to Lorient in the Brittany region of France from July with three flights a week.