EasyJet and Ryanair soar as festive fliers flock to cheap fares

The budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair increased passenger numbers over the Christmas period as customers snapped up low-cost flights.

EasyJet reported a 4.9 per cent rise in the number of seats booked on its flights at 4.3 million in December from 4.14 million a year earlier. The improvement pushed its overall passenger numbers to 59 million last year, up 6.7 per cent compared with 2011.

Europe's largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, said passenger numbers grew 2 per cent in December year on year, as it carried 4.8 million passengers.