Ryanair claims aviation ‘first’ after carrying 10m international passengers in a month

Ryanair and Aer Lingus aircraft at Dublin airport.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus aircraft at Dublin airport. - Credit: PA

Budget carrier Ryanair said today it has become the first airline to fly more than 10million international passengers in a month, as its customer service overhaul continued to boost business.

The Irish no-frills carrier, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, notched up a record 10.1m customers in July, up 11% from a year earlier.

Ryanair, which is the largest operator out of Stansted airport, also recorded its highest ever load factor with its planes flying 95% full, up from 91% in the same month a year ago.

Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer for Ryanair, said: “These record customer numbers and highest ever load factors are due to our lower fares, our stronger forward bookings and the continuing success of our ‘Always Getting Better’ customer experience programme.”

In a swipe at Irish rival Aer Lingus, which has been the subject of a long-running takeover wrangle, Ryanair commented that its monthly passenger traffic was more than Aer Lingus carried throughout the whole of 2014.

Ryanair has rolled out a raft of initiatives to win over fliers, including allocated seating, new seats with more leg room, improved in-flight meals, extra carry-on luggage and more business-friendly schedules.

It is also promising new aircraft interiors and updated uniforms for cabin crew, as well as a redesigned website, app and booking features such as “hold the fare” under a second year of its customer programme.

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Ryanair saw earnings soar 66% to 867 million euro (£606m) in the year to the end of March as its improvements paid off, while it also attracted more business customers.

Profits in the first three months of its new financial year also rose strongly, up 25% to 245m euros (£171m) as passenger numbers leapt 16% to 28m in the period.

The group also offered good news for holidaymakers last month when it forecast falls in air fares thanks to lower fuel costs for airlines and industry-wide discounting.

Ryanair recently agreed to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus, helping pave the way for the 1.3bn euros (£908mn) takeover of the company by British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG).

Ryanair had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to buy Aer Lingus, but had been ordered to cut its holding in the airline by UK competition authorities.

After announcing its agreement to sell its stake, Ryanair said it continued to oppose the rationale behind the Competition & Markets Authority’s decision which is said had been disproved by IAG’s bid. However, it said its own plans for Aer Lingus had been overtaken by the success of its Always Getting Better campaign.