EasyJet started the year with an 8.7% rise in passenger carryings.

January passenger numbers increased to more than 5.1 million over the same month last year.

This gave the UK budget carrier an annual rolling total of 82 million passengers, up 9.5%.

The load factor improved by 2.2 percentage points to 88.4%.

The figures for last month exclude easyJet’s new operations from Berlin Tegel airport taken over from collapsed Air Berlin.

Services from the German airport started on January 5 with the summer schedule released last week.

EasyJet described passenger numbers at Tegel as being in line with expectations.

Further details are to be provided at first half financial results on May 15.