Ireland's Six Nations match against Wales last month boosted passenger numbers for Aer Lingus Regional, which is operated by Stobart Air, formerly Aer Arann.

Aer Lingus Regional said its passenger numbers in February rose by 13% compared to the same time last year, rising to 82,316 from 72,930.

The airline said that passengers flying to and from Dublin were up 30% as the airline reported its eighth month of growth in a row.  It noted 33% growth in the Dublin-Cardiff route in February.

Passenger numbers are up 17% to date in 2014 compared to January and February in 2013.

"We are very satisfied with these numbers, especially when you consider the challenging weather conditions across Ireland and the UK in February.  The strategic decisions made by the airline last year, now operating under its new name as Stobart Air, has resulted in 17% increase in passenger numbers so far this year," commented Simon Fagan, commercial director at Stobart Air.