Ryanair’s passenger numbers actually went up despite cancelling thousands of bookings

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary poses for a picture after a news conference in Berlin, Germany, September 14, 2017.

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Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary poses for a picture after a news conference in Berlin, Germany, September 14, 2017.
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REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

    Ryanair’s October passenger numbers up 8% to 11.8 million. Rise despite thousands of booking being cancelled in September and 25 planes grounded until next March.

LONDON – Ryanair’s traffic grew by 8% in the wake of its recent cancellation crisis, the budget airline said on Thursday.

Ryanair’s customer numbers in October rose to 11.8 million, 8% higher than the same month in 2016, and load factor – a measurement of how full planes it flew were – rose 1% to 96%. On a rolling annual basis, Ryanair’s traffic grew by 12% to 128.2 million in October.

The strong performance came despite a cancellation crisis in September. The Irish carrier was forced to cancel thousands of bookings and ground 25 of its aircrafts until March next year after a pilot rostering error. There were reports that Ryanair was also struggling to retain pilots.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said in Thursday’s statement: “These figures include the flight cancellations announced in September. Ryanair customers can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for winter or summer, so there’s never been a better time to book a low fare flight on Ryanair.”

Ryanair slashed prices in the wake of its cancellation problems, with some fares as low as £5. Earlier this week Ryanair said the crisis will cost it €25 million in refunds to customers and €100 million a year extra as a result of new deals to keep pilots happy.