Aer Lingus has said that its total passenger numbers for January fell by 0.2% to 572,000 from 573,000 the same time last year.

The airline said its short haul passenger numbers fell by 1% to 513,000 in January of this year from 518,000 in January of last year. Its long haul numbers jumped by 7.3% to 59,000 from 55,000.

Including passengers on its Aer Lingus Regional service, passenger numbers rose 2% to 651,000 from 638,000 the same time last year. Passenger numbers on its regional services, which are operated by Aer Arann, rose by 21.5% to 79,000 from 65,000.

The airline said its overall load factor - how many seats it fills on each flight - rose by 1.9 percentage points to 63.5% from 62.7%. 

The short haul load factor grew by 0.8 percentage points, while its long haul load factor increased by 3.5 percentage points.

Aer Lingus said yesterday that it was resuming year-round services from Shannon to the US for the first time since 2009 after replacing its Airbus A330 jets with the smaller Boeing 757 planes. 

The airline said it expects its transatlantic capacity will increase by 24% this year.