Ryanair and Wizz Air publish latest passenger numbers

Ryanair and Wizz Air upbeat despite Omicron turbulence, as they reveal passengers held up in November

  • Ryanair carried 10.2million passengers in November vs 2million last year
  • Rival low-cost airline Wizz Air saw passenger numbers rise last month
  • Airline sector in a state of flux amid uncertainty surrounding Omicron variant 

Ryanair has revealed it carried 10.2million passengers in November, as it published its latest numbers amid turbulence from travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The budget airline said it operated 62,300 flights last month, with a load factor, referring to how full the airplanes are, of 86 per cent. 

In October, which included the half term holidays, the group carried 11.3million passengers, but in November last year it only carried 2million customers. 

The company saw its shares rebound on Wednesday, in line with other travel stocks, climbing around 4.7 per cent to €14.91. Today, the share price stands at €14.96.

Passenger numbers: Ryanair carried 10.2m passengers in November, as travel restrictions ramped up in certain parts of the world

Rival low-cost airline Wizz Air continued to see passenger numbers grow last month. The airline announced this morning that last month it carried over 2million passengers, a 375 per cent increase compared with the same time last year. 

The company’s load factor also rose by 7.9 percentage points to 76.1 per cent, up from 68.2 per cent in November last year.

Speaking at London’s World Aviation Festival, Wizz Air’s president Robert Carey called the ongoing uncertainty ‘a bit of a roller-coaster.’

Despite the new Omicron variant threatening to hinder all the progress made by the aviation industry so far, Wizz Air remains upbeat and has its sights set on surging demand next summer. 

On its ethical credentials, the airline said today: ‘Wizz Air continuously operates amongst the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger/km amongst all competitor airlines, with 66.2 grams per passenger/km for the rolling 12 months to 30 November 2021. 

Data: Low-cost airline Wizz Air continued to see passenger numbers grow last month

Data: Low-cost airline Wizz Air continued to see passenger numbers grow last month

‘For the month of November, emissions in grams per passenger/km were 8.4 per cent lower compared to same month last year, as we witness an improvement in load factors over same time.’

Shares in FTSE 250-listed Wizz Air have risen sharply today and are currently up 3.05 per cent or 129.00p to 4,352.00p. A year ago the group’s share price was 4,576.00p.

Travel stocks were hit recently amid the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant by health authorities in South Africa, with cases subsequently identified in various locations around the world.

Certain authorities have placed limitations on flights and reintroduced requirements for pre-travel testing in a bid to slow the spread of the new variant. But, many travel stocks have rallied over the last few days amid the easing of fears about the new virus variant. in some locations.

Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, said: ‘The vulnerability of airlines to any further lockdowns or travel restrictions was laid bare this past week as the Omicron variant grounded flights out of South Africa. 

‘The UK government’s decision to restrict access to the UK from the region was swiftly followed by others. That clearly has an impact on the larger long-haul carriers like British Airways and shares in owner International Consolidated Airlines hit a one-year low last month.

‘However, the potential for a recovery once the dust settles continues to attract buyers with a longer-term view. It’s the same with easyJet, another popular stock that could do well when we get further clarity on travel access abroad, especially in Europe where some countries are being hit hard with fresh Covid outbreaks.’

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: ‘We are in a period of several weeks where the market will be increasingly desperate to find out just how much more infectious Omicron might be and whether it will escape existing vaccines.’

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