Ryanair's passenger numbers fall 5 per cent after it cuts routes

Ryanair carried 4.8 million passengers in December, 5 per cent down on a year ago, Europe's largest budget airline said yesterday after it grounded 80 aircraft to avoid flying routes made unprofitable by high fuel prices.

The Irish company said its 2011/2012 winter traffic was expected to fall by around 5 per cent due to the decision to ground planes.

Ryanair said its December load factor – a measure of how well a carrier is selling available seats – was 79 per cent, down 1 percentage point from a year ago.

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