EasyJet failed to match budget rival Ryanair’s 20% rise in passenger carryings in December.

The UK’s largest low-cost carrier today revealed a 15.1% year-on-year increase in passengers last month to almost 5.6 million.

This compares to Dublin-based Ryanair’s 20% hike in passenger numbers in December to 9 million.

EasyJet saw a 3.3 percentage point rise in load factor to 89.9% while Ryanair reported a 94% load factor for the month when it reported figures on Wednesday.

December’s performance gave easyJet a rolling annual total of 74.4 million passengers, an increase of 6.6% but with a marginally lower load factor of 91.5%.

Ryanair’s rolling annual total was up by 15% to 117 million.