Over 12m fly Ryanair in July

Ryanair has reported record traffic levels for July, becoming the first European airline to carry over 12m customers in a single month.

The airline said traffic in July grew 11% to 12.6m customers, while load factor — a measure of how full a plane is — rose 1% to 97%. Rolling annual traffic to July grew 13% to over 125m customers.

Ryanair added that it became the first airline in the EU to surpass the one billion passenger mark in July.

Despite Ryanair’s strong traffic numbers, the airline’s shares slipped marginally yesterday. However, they are still up 24.10% since the start of the year.

Fellow low-cost carrier Wizz saw passenger numbers reach 2.8m in July, an increase of almost 24% for the year for the Eastern European airline. Its load factor was almost 95% in July, an increase of almost 2% from the corresponding period last year.

The airline said it will not charge fees for hand luggage on flights from October.

Meanwhile, shares in German flag carrier Lufthansa were boosted by it echoing the optimism of other carriers regarding demand in North American and Asian markets.

Lufthansa expects air fares to stabilise in the crucial summer months after recent pressure, thanks to good demand from Asia, North America, and Germany, it said, echoing comments from long-haul rivals.

The airline increased its annual profit target earlier this month and said it also now expected air freight arm Lufthansa Cargo to report a profit this year against previous expectations for a loss.

Its budget unit Eurowings turned a profit in the second quarter and is on track to break even for the year, Lufthansa added.

Lufthansa shares, which hit a near 10-year high in July, rose more than 3%.

European carriers including British Airways and Aer Lingus-owner IAG and EasyJet have stepped up profit targets for the year on the back of summer demand.

Major airline groups including IAG have reported strong earnings for the first half of the year, boosting faith in a sector which is finally taking off for investors.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway recently took stakes in American, Delta, United and Southwest Airlines, surprising analysts who have traditionally insisted there have been poor returns since commercial flight began.

Additional reporting Reuters

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