Ryanair sees 20% passenger rise

Low-fares airline Ryanair has released its figures for the six months to September, revealing an increase in profit and passenger numbers.

Ryanair has revealed that it carried 26.6 million passengers in the six months ending September 2007, an increase of 20 per cent on the corresponding period in 2006.

The low-fares airline made a €408 million (£283.4 million) profit in the half-year period, 24 per cent more than in 2006.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of the airline, said that one of the biggest contributors to profit was ancillary growth, in areas such as car and hotel hire, travel insurance, onboard items and excess baggage charges.

He added: "Our new routes and bases have performed well over the summer.

"This winter we will open four new bases at Alicante and Valencia in Spain, Belfast City in Northern Ireland and Bristol in England. We will also start over 130 new routes across Europe."

The Ryanair chief executive also launched an attack on airports operator BAA, which he accused of running an "abusive monopoly".

He also laid blame on the company for the long queues that passengers are encountering at Stansted airport, which is Ryanair's main base in the UK.

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Ryanair Sees 20% Passenger Rise