Ryanair beats Lufthansa to become Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers

The Irish company had a bumper 2016...

Ryanair beats Lufthansa to become Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers

Niall Carson PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ryanair has overtaken Lufthansa to become Europe's biggest airline by passenger numbers after the German firm announced that its total number of flyers grew by only 1.8% in 2016.

Last week Ryanair reported that it carried 117 million passengers last year - while just under 110 million flew with Lufthansa.

The Irish company carried 15% more passengers than it did in 2015 as low fares and new routes helped to pull in punters.

Last week, Ryanair reported that it carried 9 million customers in December - that’s 20% more than the same month in 2015.

Its load factor rose by 3% to 94% - meaning that for every 100 available seats 94 were sold.

In July of last year it became the first airline to carry more than 11 million passengers in one month.

Today, it revealed that revealed that its new mobile app has been downloaded more than 17 millions times making it the number most popular airline app in Europe on both iOS and Android.

Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs commented: "Visits from the app increased by 70% over the holiday period as we continued to see traffic from non-desktop devices outnumber desktop visits, which is why we are developing each new digital feature with a mobile-first outlook as part of our 'Always Getting Better' improvement programme."