O’Leary’s charm offensive helps Ryanair traffic

Michael O'Leary has delivered  a successful business service. Picture: Getty
Michael O'Leary has delivered a successful business service. Picture: Getty
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Ryanair’s efforts to woo more passengers by improving its 
customer service helped the budget airline deliver record traffic numbers last month.

The Irish carrier, led by chief executive Michael O’Leary, also said the launch of its business service has proved “extremely successful” in tempting more people on board.

Lower fares and improvements to Ryanair’s website saw passenger numbers climb by 400,000 to a record 9.4 million in August. The load factor – which measures how full its planes were – rose from 89 per cent a year earlier to 93 per cent.

Last week the Dublin-based firm said it would be introducing new flights from Glasgow to Chania in Crete and Carcassonne in France from next summer. Its expansion comes as Virgin Atlantic said yesterday it would be scrapping some services as part of a long-term plan to move back into the black.

Virgin Atlantic, which made a pre-tax loss of £51 million in 2013, said it was on track to deliver an annual profit this year as it announced flights to Mumbai and Tokyo would cease at the end of January. Services to Cape Town and Vancouver will also be axed, although extra services to the US are in the pipeline.

Chief executive Craig Kreeger said the overhaul would allow the carrier to “play to our strengths and focus our network on routes between the UK and US, as well as other critical global destinations that are most important to our customers”.

“Our ambition is to be profitable for the long term, earn competitive returns, and invest those into providing the very best experience for our customers on the routes they most want to fly.”

Figures released yesterday by industry body Iata showed global passenger demand rose 5.3 per cent in July, with load factors stable and the outlook positive. Capacity also grew by 5.3 per cent, giving an unchanged load factor of 82.3 per cent.

Director-general Tony Tyler said: “The overall sluggishness at the beginning of the year appears to be behind us, with growth in China and other emerging economies offsetting recent deterioration in the eurozone.”