Ryanair soars, BA falls in traffic battle

Air
traffic for Ryanair grew by 13 per cent while British Airways flew 2.6 per cent
fewer passengers during July when compared with July 2009.

Ryanair
sold 7.61 million seats last month, smashing a previous record of 6.8 million
seats sold in August 2009.

BA
carried 3.19 million passengers last month, down from 3.21 million in July
2009.

BA
enjoyed a strike-free July after cabin crew restarted talks about pay and
conditions.

The
long-running dispute has so far cost BA $240 million.

Ryanair’s
figures came after a disappointing start to the second quarter when the
Icelandic ash cloud had caused it to cancel almost 10,000 flights at a cost of $67
million.

But
in the 12 months leading to the end of July, the Irish carrier flew 70 million
passengers.

“Ryanair’s
unbeatable formula of the lowest fares, no fuel surcharges and industry leading
customer service continues to encourage passengers to switch from high fares,
fuel surcharging [and] strike-ridden flag carriers,” spokesman Stephen
McNamara said.

BA
said traffic should pick up in the months ahead.

“In
winter we’re likely to see more volume as capacity grows, but yield growth is
likely to slow,” said group treasurer George Stinnes.

Meanwhile,
BA became the first UK airline to take delivery of the long range Boeing
777-300ER.

The
state-of-the art aircraft is bigger, quieter and more fuel efficient than its
predecessors and showcases the future face of British Airways.

In
June, the European Union approved the planned merger between British Airways
and Iberia without applying any conditions.

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