easyJet Airbus A319 (Wikimedia)
easyJet Airbus A319Wikimedia

British low-cost carrier EasyJet said the number of passengers opting to use its service rose again in December.

In December, the company boarded 4.49 million passengers, up 3.5% from 4.34 million in December 2012.

Load factor, a metric representing the number of passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available for passengers, was 87.9% in December, unchanged from last year.

For 12 months ending in December, number of passengers increased by 3.6% to 61.33 million from last year. Meanwhile, load factor for the same period improved by 0.4 percentage points to 89.3%.

The December figures come after the company reported a 3.4% rise in passenger numbers in November over the same month last year.

On December 17, EasyJet said it expects its busiest ever Christmas in 2013 with 3,700 EasyJet flights and over half a million passengers between 20 and 29 December.

Rising Traffic and Higher Profit

The rise in the number of passengers is being reflected in the company's yearly results.

On 19 November, EasyJet recorded a 51% increase in profit to £478m ($783m, €576m) for the year ended 30 September, on a 10% jump in revenues to £4.2bn.

The company recently attributed its success partly to the newly introduced seating allocation system. Passengers selecting Easyjet service have the option to pay and choose their seats or have them allocated automatically free of cost.

With its increasing popularity and revenues, the company intends to take on big and established carriers in the country.

"Our primary competition is actually the legacy carriers that's who we're up against. In every single primary airport that we fly into it's about competing with Alitalia, Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa," CEO Carolyn McCall said.

Easyjet shares closed at 1,597 pence on 6 January.

Earlier, EasyJet rival Ryanair said it boarded a record 5 million passengers in December, up 4% year over year. Passenger traffic for the full 2013 rose 2% to 81.4 million customers. The load factor remained unchanged at 81%.