Ryanair has reported a 25% increase in passenger numbers for January on the back of the success of its improved customer experience programme.

The airline said it carried a total of 7.48 million passengers last month, up from 5.98 million the same time last year.

Its load factor - or how many seats it fills on each flight - also rose to 88% from 83% during the month.

"These record monthly numbers and load factors are due to the continuing success of our "Always Getting Better" customer experience programme, which continues to deliver stronger than expected forward bookings, traffic and load factors," commented the company's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.

Earlier this week, Ryanair predicted that record passenger numbers will enable it to hit its annual profit target, despite falling ticket prices due to security alerts in Europe and cheaper oil. 

Reporting quarterly results, the airline said its revenues for the three months to the end of December rose by 17% to €1.33 billion from €1.132 billion while profits after tax jumped 110% to €103m from €49m.

Ryanair had increased its full-year profit forecast by 25% in early September, citing poor summer weather in Northern Europe, weak sterling and the impact of improved customer service. 

But security alerts after attacks in Paris in November and strong competition has since forced it to cut average fares, which fell 1% in the last three months of 2015 and will fall 6% in the first three months of 2016.