Aer Lingus has reported a 0.9% dip in passenger numbers for February.

The airline said it carried a total of 553,000 passengers last month, down the 558,000 passengers it carried the same month last year.

Aer Lingus said its long haul passenger numbers rose by 21.7% to 56,000 from 46,000 but its short haul passenger numbers fell by 2.9% to 497,000 from 512,000.

Its load factor - how many seats it fills on each flight - rose by 1.9 percentage points to 69.2% last month.

The short haul load factor rose by 1.6 percentage points to 70.3% mainly due to capacity reductions related to planned network adjustments because of seasonal demand conditions.

Its long haul load factor increased by three percentage points to 67.7%, the airline added.