Fast expanding no-frills airline Ryanair yesterday said that passenger numbers last month rose 13 per cent to 2.12 million.
The Dublin-based operator - which flies from Birmingham International Airport to Dublin, Gerona and Murcia - told shareholders that its passenger load factor, a measure of how many seats it has filled on its planes, was 79 per cent in February compared to 77 per cent a year ago.
Ryanair announced last week that it had ordered new planes worth more than £2 billion from Boeing as part of an ambitious plan to double its passenger numbers by 2012.
The new planes will arrive between 2008 and 2012 and are expected to take Ryanair's passenger numbers up to more than 70 million a year.
The planes will also help create more than 2,500 jobs - principally for pilots, cabin crew and engineering people.
The carrier, which aims to become Europe's largest airline in seven years, plans to expand aggressively in Europe, particularly in Spain and Italy, despite falling ticket prices and high fuel costs.
British Airways said passenger traffic-in February rose 1.4 per cent yearon-year as the number of people travelling first and business class recovered.
It said market conditions remained unchanged and ticket prices were expected to continue to fall due to stiff competition in short-haul markets.
"All market segments remain price sensitive and yield declines are expected to continue," BA cautioned.
BA said it carried 7.82 million passengers in February, compared to 7.71 million in the same month last year.
Its February load factor rose two points to 70.8 per cent from a year ago.
The rise in traffic was narrower than in previous months but the carrier said its more lucrative premium - or first and business-class travel - improved by 6.8 per cent.