Ryanair is top dog at JLA

Michael O’Leary’s airline, Ryanair, is once again the largest carrier at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA), after reclaiming the title from Luton-based airline, easyJet. The blue and yellow carrier has reported consistent growth at JLA throughout the year, even despite the harmful effects of the Volcanic Ash Crisis.

EasyJet and Ryanair are almost as synonymous with UK aviation as aeroplanes, runways, and noise-blight compensation schemes. The two airlines gained fame (and indeed, infamy) in very different ways. EasyJet featured on the docu-soap, Airline, whilst Ryanair has a shameless leader in Michael O’Leary, well known for his foul-mouthed tirades.

As the pair competes against each other at many UK airports, the two airlines quickly became bitter rivals, and their frequent, melodramatic squabbles make for interesting (and sometimes hilarious) reading.

News that Ryanair has trumped easyJet at JLA will no doubt make O’Leary’s Christmas lights shine a little brighter this December. However, the fortunes of both airlines were very different at the beginning of 2010, with easyJet achieving growth of 14.1% at JLA in quarter one, compared to 9.1% at Ryanair.

The Volcanic Ash Crisis proved to be a blessing in disguise for Ryanair in quarter two, as its orange opponent lost a depressing 12.9% of its passengers. Ryanair, on the other hand, remained stoic, reporting growth of 4%. O’Leary’s airline went on to transport a record-breaking 267,413 travellers in August, the highest ever recorded at JLA.

August’s figures topped off a productive third quarter for Ryanair, and a miserable one for easyJet. The former helped an extra 20.4% of passengers reach their destinations between July and September, whilst the latter stumbled to a 4.5% decline in traffic at JLA during the same period. In total, Ryanair has sold 2,084,625 tickets for its flights out of Liverpool in 2010, compared to sales of 1,954,839 at easyJet.

Robin Tudor, spokesman for JLA, said that Ryanair has “performed well,” but there are “challenging months ahead” for everybody involved with Liverpool Airport. “We continue to remain optimistic,” Robin said.

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