It's European LCC month-in-review time.
Ryanair's May was no great shakes, either way. In May 2009, the airline's passenger totals jumped 9 percent, from 5.06 million to 5.51 million, while their load factor increased slightly, from 80 to 81 percent. These figures stand against May 2008 numbers.
Air Berlin's comparable statistics are on the surface a bit more worrying. The airline flew 2.51 million passengers in May, against May 2008's 2.72 million. That's a drop of 7.7 percent. In Air Berlin's press release, the airline points out that capacity was also reduced in May 2009 by 3.1 percent, which accounts for some but not all of this drop. Load factor fell 3.8 percent, from 80.8 percent in May 2008 to 77.0 percent in May 2009.
What's most noteworthy here is the fact that Air Berlin is filling more than three of every four seats, while Ryanair is filling more than four of every five, in the midst of bad economic times.
In other LCC news, Paris Beauvais airport—a big hub for Ryanair—is closed May 3 through May 9.