Ryanair and Wizz Air saw jump in passenger numbers last month

Wizz Air said its carbon emissions increased by more than a fifth compared with the same month a year ago.

Ryanair said it will cancel flights this summer due to delays in aircraft deliveries
Ryanair and Wizz Air reported continued disruption due to hostilities in Gaza (Nicholas.T.Ansell/PA)

Low-cost airlines Wizz Air and Ryanair both saw jumps in the number of passengers taking their flights in February.

Ryanair, the larger of the two companies, said it carried 11.1 million passengers last month – an increase of 5% from the 10.6 million people who took a Ryanair flight in February 2023.

Its load factor – the proportion of seats that were filled with passengers – was 92%, unchanged from a year earlier.

It came as Ryanair announced it had cancelled the lowest number of flights because of the Israel-Gaza conflict since before Hamas’s October attacks. It cancelled 800 flights last month due to the war, down from 950 in January.

Meanwhile, Wizz Air announced a 15.8% rise in passenger numbers last month, compared with February 2023, to 4.4 million. Its load factor was 90.0%.

The airline said its load factor was “impacted by reallocated Israel capacity”, but did not give any details. It also flew more capacity than expected during the month.

Wizz Air said its emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) for every kilometre it transported each passenger rose 5.1% to 51.4 grams. Its overall emissions were 409,624 tonnes, an increase of 21.3% on a year ago.

The company said: “Wizz Air continues to consistently report the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger/km among competitor airlines, with 52.0 grams per passenger/km for the rolling 12 months to 29 February 2024.”

It came in a month when the airline announced it would open a second training centre in Rome in May this year. It will be able to train up to 4,800 pilots every year at the site.

It also added two Airbus A321neos to its fleet in Budapest.