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Both Ryanair and Wizz Air report growth in passenger numbers in August

Both airlines reported that passenger numbers had risen compared to August 2017, although Ryanair retained a higher load factor of 97% compared to Wizz's 95.6%

Wizz Air and Ryanair planes
Ryanair's growth came in spite of 550 cancellations over August as a result of pilot strikes and ATC staff shortages

Budget airliners Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) have both reported growth in passenger numbers for August, although Ryanair came out with a slight edge on its load factor.

The Irish airline reported that its total traffic (including its Lauda airline) had risen 9% to 13.8mln compared to August 2017, while its load factor remained flat at 97%.

READ: Ryanair shares boosted as US value fund takes stake

In its divisions, the firm’s Ryanair operations saw a 5% increase in customer traffic to 13.3mln with a 97% load factor, while its Lauda operation reported 0.5mln customers with a load factor of 92%.

The growth came in spite of air traffic control staff shortages and what the firm said was an “unnecessary” pilot strike which had caused almost 550 flight cancellations in the month compared to just 27 in August 2017.

The firm has dealt with several disputes from pilot union across Europe, although positivity resurfaced at the end of August as the firm reached agreements with both its Irish and Italian pilot unions.

Meanwhile, FTSE 250 constituent Wizz Air reported passenger growth of 20.4% to around 3.4mln compared to last August, while its load factor inched up 0.2 percentage points to 95.6%.

READ: Wizz Air sees earnings contract in first quarter as air traffic disruptions bite

The firm also reported a 22.7% increase in passengers to 32.2mln in the rolling 12 months to the end of August compared to the same period a year ago, while its load factor had moved up 0.8 percentage points to 91.8%.

In early-morning trading Tuesday, Ryanair shares were up 0.3% at 14.1p while Wizz Air shares were up 1.1% at 3,199p.

Quick facts: Ryanair Holdings PLC

Price: 16.535 EUR

Market: LSE
Market Cap: €18.64 billion

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