DUBLIN, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Ryanair on Tuesday nudged up its full-year forecast for passenger numbers after adding more flights to its UK winter schedule in response to cuts by IAG-owned rival British Airways.
Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers expects to fly 166.5 million passengers in the year to the end of March, up from a previous target of 165 million, after it added more than 1 million seats to and from 20 UK airports.
British Airways said on Monday it was cancelling some flights up to the end of October following Heathrow airport's decision to cap capacity to tackle widespread disruption.
Airlines and airports across Europe have struggled to cope with the rebound in post-lockdown travel, with many failing to recruit enough staff to handle check-ins and baggage.
However Ryanair, which made a point of keeping its pilots and crew up-to-date with their flying hours during the pandemic and does not fly from Heathrow, carried its highest-ever number of passengers in a month in both June and July.
It has been taking advantage of cancellations by rivals, particularly in the UK, by adding extra flights.
The Irish airline flew 97 million passengers in its last financial year and a record 149 million before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Mark Potter