Ryanair's load factor - a measure of how well an airline is filling available seats - rose above 90% for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as traffic rose sharply during the key Easter holiday period.

Ryanair said it flew 14.2 million people in April compared to just over 1 million during lockdown a year ago - an increase of 1,267%.

The airline had carried 13.5 million passengers in April 2019.

This marks the second month in a row it has carried more passengers than in the corresponding pre-pandemic period.

Ryanair, Europe's largest by passenger numbers, said it operated over 82,600 flights in April with a 91% load factor.

Group chief executive Michael O'Leary said earlier this year that he expected Ryanair's aircraft to be almost 90% full by April and above that level in the summer. The airline has said it is profitable when occupancy reaches 80%.

Its load factor regularly reached at least 96% a month before the pandemic.

Ryanair has said it expects to fly 14% more capacity this summer than in the same season of 2019, and will carry a record 165 million passengers in the year to March 2023, up from just under 100 million in the previous year and a pre-Covid record of 149 million.

Ryanair said its March passenger figures were affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February with 2,000 flights to and from Ukraine cancelled during the month due to airspace closures.

It also said its December, January and February passenger numbers traffic were hit by Omicron restrictions.

So far this year, Ryanair has carried 110.2 million passengers, an increase of 287% on the 28.5 million passengers the same time last year.

Its load factor for the months from January to April rose to 83% from 71% last year.

Ryanair shares dropped in Dublin trade today.