May’s Budget Air Numbers: Ryanair vs. SkyEurope

We apologize for the slight delay in our May low-cost carrier number crunching exercise. We were on holiday. We might just offer this excuse repeatedly over the next several days. Stay tuned.

In May, Ryanair carried 17% more passengers than in May 2006, though the leading budget airline’s load factor—or percentage of seats filled—fell 2%, from 82% for 80%.

Slovak challenger SkyEurope managed an amazing 40% increase in passengers numbers. Their load factor increased 8.9%, jumping from 70.5% to 79.4%—putting them a hair under Ryanair’s 80% load.

In more general overview news, Ryanair’s shares have fallen as of late, with the airline warning about reduced profit expectations, while SkyEurope continues to hemmorhage money. Meanwhile, easyJet has pledged to match Ryanair’s fare war. (Thanks to Airscoop for the alert!)

Suddenly, Europe’s LCCs suddenly appear to be in serious flux. We predict some consolidations, collapses, and reorientations over the next few months.

About the author

Alex Robertson Textor
About the author: Bitten by the travel bug at 11, Alex Robertson Textor has fond childhood memories of ultracheap Spanish hotels (the kind with Styrofoam shelving) and supermarket lunches scarfed on park benches. Formerly an academic, Alex has spent the last several years redirecting his professional life into full-time travel journalism and editing. He has published articles in the New York Times, Guardian Unlimited, Condé Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.
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