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Ryanair flies record passengers despite cancellations

© dpa/AFP/File | Despite disruptions, a record year for Ryanair

DUBLIN (AFP) - 

Ryanair flew a record-high 129 million passengers last year, the Irish no-frills airline said Wednesday, despite cancelling thousands of flights because of a pilots shortage.

Ryanair increased by 10 percent the number of passengers flown mainly across Europe compared with 2016, the Dublin-based carrier said in a brief statement.

It flew 9.3 million passengers in December, up three percent compared with 12 months earlier.

Ryanair suffered a turbulent end to 2017, with it was forced to cancel 20,000 flights through to March this year, mainly because of botched holiday scheduling for pilots.

The fiasco triggered pilots' demands for better working conditions and representation, with some departing for other carriers.

The discontent also saw Ryanair hit by its first-ever strike by pilots, with German staff staging a short stoppage ahead of Christmas.

This despite Ryanair finally making moves to formally recognise pilots' unions.

Ryanair has meanwhile set itself the goal of transporting 200 million passengers annually by 2024.

© 2018 AFP