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Ryanair carries most passengers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that low-cost carrier Ryanair carried the most international passengers of any airline in 2006.

IATA data shows that the Irish airline carried 40,532 passengers in the year, while its closest rival, Lufthansa, carried 38,236.

Other airlines in the top five include Air France, British Airways and KLM. Ryanair's low-fare rival, easyJet, came in sixth, having passenger numbers of 21,917.

Commenting on the figures, Ryanair's Peter Sherrard said: "Ryanair's number one world ranking confirms that passengers can't get enough of our guaranteed lowest fares.

"Just ten years ago most of the other airlines on this IATA ranking carried ten times more passengers than Ryanair.

"Today Ryanair carries more international passengers than anyone else in the world. This growth has been delivered by giving passengers exactly what they want; the lowest fares, the best punctuality, the youngest aircraft and no fuel surcharges guaranteed."

Ryanair recently announced that it would allow advertisers to place ads on seatbacks and overhead storage bins. It said that the revenue generated from the scheme would allow it to keep charging low fares.