Ryanair carries record 117m passengers in 2016

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Irish budget airline Ryanair carried a record 117 million passengers in 2016, an increase of 15 percent on the previous year, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The carrier, Europe’s busiest, beat its previous record of 101.4 million passengers set in 2015, thanks to what it said was a combination of low fares, new routes and bases and improved customer service.

Britain accounts for 26 percent of Ryanair revenues and following the vote to leave the European Union last year, the airline expects growth in that country to slow.

“Following the Brexit referendum result, we will pivot growth away from the UK in 2017, and this capacity will be allocated to European Union airports instead,” a spokesman said.

“Our growth rate in the UK will reduce from 15 percent in 2016 to six percent this year.”

Ryanair has recently opened services to Luxembourg and Toulouse-Blagnac in France, and is opening half a dozen new bases, notably in Germany and eastern Europe.

It is also targeting more business customers.

It said it expected to carry 119 million customers in the 2017 financial year, and 130 million the following year.