Budget airlines Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) and Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) may have had their spirits lifted by traffic statistics for April, which showed something of a recovery in passenger numbers as the effects of the pandemic on travel showed signs of loosening.
In an update for the month, Ryanair said it had carried 1mln passengers during the month, up from just 0.04mln a year ago, although on a rolling annual basis passenger numbers were still down 79% at 135.1mln. The airline operated 8,000 flights over in April with a load factor of 67%.
Meanwhile, Wizz Air saw a similar trend, with passenger numbers moving up to 564,634 in April from 78,382 a year ago, although its load factor fell to 59.2% from 74.3% while the carrier said it was operating at just 22% of capacity.
While the passenger numbers are still heavily down on pre-pandemic levels (Ryanair carried 13.5mln passengers in April 2019), the budget airlines may be encouraged by the uptick in demand ahead of an expected relaxation of travel restrictions to and from the UK later this month, as well as reports that the European Union is planning to welcome fully vaccinated holidaymakers over the summer period in a bid to boost tourism.
Shares in Ryanair rose 0.2% to €16.58 in mid-morning trading on Wednesday, while Wizz Air climbed 1% to 4,864p.