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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 10:28 GMT
Flyers flock to Easyjet
Easyjet aircraft
Easyjet fills most of its flights
No-frills airline Easyjet more than doubled its passenger numbers last month, helped by the acquisition of rival budget carrier Go.

The company said on Thursday that more than 1.6 million passengers travelled on its aircraft during October, an increase of 128% on the same period last year.

The sharp increase partly reflected the inclusion of passenger bookings with Go, which carried an average of about 400,000 people a month.

The company's October passenger statistics were the first not to distinguish between Easyjet and Go bookings since the two airlines combined this summer.

Head to head

The total figure was also boosted by new routes.

Easyjet completed the acquisition of former BA subsidiary Go in the summer, displacing Ryanair as Europe's largest no-frills airline.

Ryanair carried a total of 1.38 million passengers last month.

Europe's budget airlines have enjoyed sustained growth in passenger numbers, sales and profits in recent months, while full-service carriers continue to struggle with the fallout of the 11 September attacks.

Full service airlines such as BA or Lufthansa, heavily dependent on lucrative transatlantic routes, have been hit hard by a decline in passenger numbers over the past year.

Low fares

The no-frills carriers, in contrast, only serve short-haul destinations within Europe.

Their low fares have kept passenger numbers on short-haul routes buoyant, bucking trends in the wider air travel industry.

The budget airlines currently control about 5% of the European market, but some analysts expect this to rise to 25% by 2010.

The competitive threat from the no-frills sector has forced some full service carriers to slash their fares on short-haul routes in turn.

See also:

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