Complaints against Ryanair’s claim to be Europe’s number one airline after cancelling thousands of flights last autumn have been dismissed by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority today rejected 13 complaints against the budget carrier’s TV advertising as being misleading.

The ASA ruled: “While we acknowledged some of the complainants’ views of Ryanair were that it was not their personal number one airline due to the recent flight cancellations, we considered they would nevertheless still interpret the claim to be an objective statement about the number of passengers who had travelled on Ryanair flights compared to all other European airlines.”

Ryanair based its claim on data from Iata’s World Air Transport Statistics 2017 report for air travel in 2016.

This showed that Ryanair carried more scheduled passengers than any other European airline encompassing domestic and international flights.

“We considered it was appropriate to rely on the most recent data from Iata to substantiate the claim,” the ASA said.

“We further noted Ryanair had carried over 40 million more passengers than the European airline ranked second and the number of flight cancellations in 2017 was less than 645,000.

“Therefore, there was no indication that the flight cancellations would prevent Ryanair from carrying the most passengers in 2017.

“Because the most recent available figures showed Ryanair had carried more passengers than any other European airline, we concluded that the claim ‘Europe’s number one airline’ was unlikely to mislead consumers.”

*The ASA also dismissed three complaints against claims made in a TV advert by Trivago that it compares prices from more than a million hotels.