Ryanair and Wizz Air both today disclosed their highest monthly passenger numbers since the pandemic hit, but concerns around travel demand in Europe for the winter remain as Jet2 flagged continuing slower booking momentum for the period.
Europe’s largest no-frills carrier Ryanair carried 11.1 million passengers in August. That marked a further improvement on the 9.3 million it carried in July as travel restrictions within Europe were further eased.
It also represents a 4 million improvement on August 2020, the carrier’s previous post-Covid high point for demand prior to the latest round of border relaxations.
However, the number remains almost 4 million lower than the 14.9 million passengers Ryanair carried in August 2019 before the crisis.
Ryanair’s load factor of 82% was also its highest since before the pandemic.
Central European budget carrier Wizz also today reported its highest monthly passenger number and load factor since the pandemic. Wizz carried 3.6 million passengers at a load factor of 84% in August.
Eurocontrol yesterday reported the number of flights operated in European airspace had exceeded its best-case scenario for the second month running in August.
Meanwhile, UK leisure carrier Jet2, in an AGM statement today, says it is flying around 55% of its pre-Covid summer capacity following the gradual easing in travel restrictions from the UK.
The UK has been operating a rolling three-week review of destinations clear for quarantine-free travel under its traffic light system, which while opening up an increased number of destinations over the summer, also means passenger are booking closer to departure.
”Despite the limited booking visibility, pleasingly, we have generated positive financial contribution from the flying to date, supported by our quick to market, flexible operating model,” Jet2 says.
However though the carrier remains confident that next summer will deliver a “considerable improvement” on both this and last summer, it does flag concerns about slow demand for this winter.
”The slower momentum for Winter 21/22 bookings which we reported in our preliminary results in early July has remained. As a result, bookings have yet to match our on-sale seat capacity and therefore pricing for both our leisure travel products – end-to-end package holidays with Jet2holidays and flight-only seats with Jet2.com – will need to remain consistently enticing. The overall Winter 21/22 capacity remains under continuous review.”