Leading low-cost carriers enjoyed double-digit revenue growth in 2011 and collective passenger numbers rose nearly 12%.
The latest Airline Business low-cost carrier survey showed revenues grew strong at virtually all of the more than 30 carriers 2011 financial results were available for.
Southwest Airlines remains the largest budget operator by revenue and passenger numbers. Its revenues jumped nearly 30% to $15.7 billion when accounting for its 2011 acquisition of fellow low-cost carrier AirTran. Excluding the merger, its revenues were up 6%. Passenger numbers reached 135 million.
, using an annual figure based on revenues in its four published quarters for the calendar year, was the second largest no-frills operators by revenues at just under $6 billion.
The Irish budget carrier was also among the most profitable of low-cost operators. It posted net profits of $496 million to March 2011 and has been targeting net profits of $630 million for its financial year just ended.
Passenger numbers across 75 low-cost carriers in the survey grew 11.6% in 2011.