This year’s later Easter delivered a boost for budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet, figures from the two carriers revealed today.

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Ryanair, the largest opeator at Stansted Airport, said it carried 7.8 million passengers during April, an increase of 400,000 on the corresponding month last year and representing growth of 5%.

The company’s load factor − the percentage of available seats sold − also grew, from 81% in April last year to 83%.

And Ryanair’s rolling 12-month passenger total, which avoids the skewed comparison with last year when Easter fell during March, was 3% up at a 82m, representing a load factor of 83%.

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said that, besides benefiting from the Easter getaway, last month’s figures also reflected the “improved customer experience” the company now offered, including allocated seating, a free second small carry-on bag and permitted use of portable electronic devices on all flights.

Luton-based easyJet, which is also a major operator at Stansted, carried 5.8m passengers last month, an increase of 10.2% from 5.3m in April last year, with its load factor improving from 86.7% to 89.8%.

The company’s rolling annual total grew by 4.2%, from 59.5m to 62.4m, a load factor of 89.7% against 89.1%.

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