Ryanair Holdings Plc traffic climbed 20 percent in December after Europe’s biggest discount carrier boosted capacity in a push to expand its passenger base.

The Dublin-based airline flew just over 6 million people in December, one million more than a year earlier, it said in a statement today. Its load factor, a measure of seat occupancy, rose 7 percentage points to 88 percent.

Low fares, coupled with a push to lock in forward bookings and improve customer relations is “delivering better than expected load factors in our significantly expanded winter schedule,” Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said.

Ryanair upgraded its full-year profit goal three times last year, saying that any slowdown in the European economy could push people in its direction. Annual profit after tax for the 12 months to March 31 will be in the range of 810 million euros ($968 million) to 830 million euros, it said last month.

The company aims to fly just over 90 million people in the fiscal year. Rolling annual traffic as of the end of December was 86.4 million passengers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at klundgren2@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net. 

Photo Credit: A rendering of a Ryanair 737. Ryanair