Ryanair's August traffic up 59% month on month to 7 million

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair planes are seen at Dublin Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Dublin, Ireland, May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair RYA.I flew 7 million passengers last month, up 59% on July as it returned to a more regular schedule but still less than half the number it flew a year earlier before the COVID-19 pandemic hit air travel.

Traffic was down 53% year on year after Europe’s biggest budget carrier operated around 60% of its normal August schedule.

It recorded a 73% load factor, which measures how well an airline fills available seats, similar to the level in July.

The Irish airline last month decided to reduce its flight capacity by a further 20% in September and October after a reimposition of some travel restrictions led to a weakness in forward bookings, particularly among business travellers.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Jason Neely