New record for Ryanair despite chaos

LOW-fares airline Ryanair said yesterday it had carried a record total of more than four million passengers during August - despite the disruption caused by the terrorism alert at UK airports.

LOW-fares airline Ryanair said yesterday it had carried a record total of more than four million passengers during August - despite the disruption caused by the terrorism alert at UK airports.

But the Dublin-based company, which is the largest operator out of Stansted Airport, said it did not expect the full impact of the flight chaos to show up until the end of this month.

Ryanair is suing the British government for £3million in costs and lost earnings over its handling of the terrorism alert, although it has pledged to hand the proceeds to charity should it succeed with its claim.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said yesterday that delays and cancellations resulting from the heightened security measures which began on August 10 had cost the airline around 35,000 passengers.


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“We estimate about half to two thirds of passengers would have rebooked anyways because they were on return flights,” said Mr O'Leary.

However, he added: “We feel the impact is more likely to be felt during the month of September because people stop booking when they see all the mess at the UK airports. We expect the effect will be on passenger numbers at the back end of August and early September.”

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Ryanair, which claims last month's figure makes it the first airline ever to carry more than four million international passengers in a month, is aiming to counter this effect by giving away four million free seats on flights booked over the next seven days on its 371 European routes.

The free flights can be booked until midnight Monday, September 11 for travel between September 19, 2006 to March 24, 2007.

Mr O'Leary said: “This is designed to pick up any bookings we lost as a result of the security mess in the UK during the middle of August, it is to make sure to maintain 80%, 85% load factors throughout October, November, December.”

Despite the record passenger total for August, Ryanair said yesterday that its legal action against the UK Government would still going ahead.

“The fact is UK security measures on outbound UK flights are widely discredited within the airline industry, within the airport industry and also by passengers who are having their cosmetics and toiletries confiscated at airport security,” Mr O'Leary said.

“I think the fact they are not rolled out to somewhere like the London Underground shows that in reality they don't add to security; it is simply a way for politicians to make it look like they are doing something.”

Ryanair also yesterday confirmed a number of new routes out of Dublin from next February, to destinations including Malta, Stockholm and the Canary Islands. It is also doubling the frequency of its flights from Dublin to Berlin, Rome, Malaga and Faro.

Mr O'Leary said: “We will be adding more aircraft to Dublin Airport next summer, probably another two maybe three aircraft. And you can probably add about 75 jobs per aircraft.”

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