Budget airlines see festive passenger boost

Christmas helped boost carryings at budget airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air in December.

Ryanair carryings rose by 12% to 10.3 million passengers over December 2017, including Austrian arm Laudamotion.

This gave the Irish no-frills airline a total of almost 129 million passengers in 2018 – a rise of 8% over the previous year.

Ryanair operated more than 57,000 scheduled flights in December with over 81% arriving on time.

This delivered the best punctuality of any major EU airline, according to the carrier.

Wizz Air passenger numbers were up by 18.3% to 2.6 million over December 2017.

The load factor achieved by the central and eastern European low cost carrier was up by 1.3 percentage points to 88.8%.

The December numbers meant that annual carryings grew by more than 20% to 54.4 million.

Wizz Air announced plans to expand from Luton with two additional aircraft to bring its fleet based at the airport up to 11 for summer 2019.

The airline took delivery of its 106th aircraft last month with the delivery of an Airbus A321.

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