Ryanair said it flew 11% more passengers in August than in the same month last year – its latest all-time traffic record in what is typically its busiest month.
Europe’s largest airline by passenger volume said it flew 18.9 million passengers in August, up from 16.9 million a year earlier and up from 14.9 million in August 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
It achieved its previous record, 18.7 million passengers, in July.
The airline said its load factor – how many seats it fills on each flight – was unchanged at 96% in August.
The airline has said it expects traffic in the financial year to March 2024 to grow by 9%, to around 183.5 million passengers.
Ryanair said today that around 63,000 of its passengers saw their flights cancelled during last week’s air traffic control failure which caused widespread disruption across the industry and left thousands of passengers stranded.
In its August traffic update, the carrier said more than 350 of its flights were cancelled on August 28 and 29 due to the air traffic control (ATC) issue.
More than a quarter of all flights to and from UK airports were cancelled on Monday August 28 as National Air Traffic Services (Nats) were unable to process flight plans automatically.
The knock-on effect continued for two more days and is said to have wrecked the travel plans of around a quarter of a million people.
Ryanair said the ATC failure “has still not been explained”.
Airlines have been infuriated by the incident, which came at one of the worst times of the year, with little spare capacity across the sector due to it being the end of the summer break for many schools.
The boss of rival easyJet, Johan Lundgren, last week demanded a “full independent review” is launched into the failure and said it “must not happen again”.
Nats has said an “unusual piece of data” it received forced it to switch to manual checks.
UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper met Nats, the Civil Aviation Authority, Border Force, airlines, airports and trade groups on Friday last week to discuss the situation.
Nats is carrying out an inquiry into what happened and will send a preliminary report to Mr Harper on Monday.
The minister said after the meeting last Friday that airlines reported “most customers” affected by the chaos have now reached their destinations.
But thousands of holidaymakers were left stranded overseas as many flights from popular destinations were full.
Analysts at Citi reiterated a “buy” rating for the airline in a note following the release of the passenger data.
It said it sees the airline as a market share consolidator in Western Europe, with growth potential in Eastern Europe.