EasyJet today soared above rivals as the budget carrier flew a record number of passengers in August, while tomorrow is expected to be the busiest day in the company's 19-year history.
The orange airline, piloted by Carolyn McCall, will be checking in more than 210,000 passengers tomorrow on 1451 flights, with families returning home as the school holidays come to an end, while other travellers leave British shores in a last-minute dash for summer sunshine.
Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona are the most popular destinations for the droves of passengers leaving the UK for holidays, and Paris, Amsterdam and Geneva are the airline’s busiest business destinations. Almost a fifth of easyJet’s passengers are now suits using it to fly to overseas meetings.
The airline’s anticipation of its most hectic day tomorrow follows its busiest-ever August — with 8.4 per cent more passengers travelling on its planes last month compared to the same month a year earlier, adding up to a total of 6.6 million.
EasyJet’s load factor — aviation talk for how full a plane is — was at more than 94 per cent, another record for the airline launched by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995.
It comes after easyJet warned investors in July to brace themselves for lower-than-expected pre-tax profits due to the impact of instability in Moscow, Egypt, and Israel. But today the strong passenger figures saw the airline’s shares tick up 10.8p to 1374.8p.
Rival Ryanair yesterday said it too had smashed records in August, carrying 9.4 million passengers during the crucial holiday month, but numbers were up 4 per cent, half the pace of growth enjoyed by easyJet.
Ryanair recently revamped its customer services to “stop unnecessarily pissing people off”, as boss Michael O’Leary put it.
It’s also aped easyJet’s work by launching an offering for business passengers, where fliers receive fast-tracked airport security, exit-row seats and the option to change tickets to another flight that day up to 40 minutes before take-off for €69.99 (£55.90).