Aer Lingus has reported a 12% increase in total passenger numbers in April compared to the same month last year.

The airline said it carried a total of 974,000 passengers last month - including those on its regional operations which is operated by Stobart Air - compared to 868,000 the same time last year.

Passenger numbers were boosted by the timing of Easter this year which fell in April, while it was in March last year.

The airline said that the introduction of the new services to Toronto and San Francisco contributed to a 32% rise in long haul passenger numbers in the month to reach a total of 111,000.

Its short haul passenger numbers were also higher, rising by 7.1% to 751,000 from 701,000.

Aer Lingus also said its total load factor -  how many seats it fills on each flight - rose last month to 75.8% from 68.9% the same month last year. 

Its long haul load factor rose to 77.9% from 69.3% while its short haul load factor increased to 74.2% from 68.7%.

Aer Lingus Regional passenger figures also saw strong growth last month, with the service carrying 112,000 passengers, up 34.9% on the same time last year.

Meanwhile, this year's later Easter also boosted air passenger figures for April for EasyJet. The airline said today it carried more than 5.78 million passengers last month - a 10.2% increase on the total for April last year.