Ryanair has reported a surge in fares – as a record number of passengers flew with the airline over the summer.
Compared to a year ago, the average fare rose by 24% to €58 (£50.27), Ryanair reported in its results for the first half of the 2023/24 financial year.
Michael O’Leary, the low-cost airline’s chief executive, said earlier this year fares were unlikely to increase more than 20%, with a rise of between 10% and 15% likely.
Ryanair recorded a total revenue of €8.58bn (£7.43bn) in the six months to the end of September.
At the same time, passenger numbers reached more than 105 million across the half year due to a “strong” Easter and record summer demand.
In the next 10 years, Ryanair – Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers – aims to grow passenger numbers to 300 million a year.
Before then, latest company forecasts are for record profits by the end of this financial year in March.
Ryanair on Monday said it expects an after-tax profit between €1.85bn (£1.6bn) and €2.05bn (£1.77bn), far above the previous record of €1.45bn (£1.25bn) in 2018.
Profits after tax are already 59% up on the same period a year ago, at €2.18bn (£1.88bn) for the six months up to September.
As a result, for the first time ever Ryanair is paying dividends to its shareholders. Investors are in line to receive €0.35 (£0.30) per share, part of an overall pay out of €400m (£346.6m) to be issued in February and September next year.
Despite the rude financial health of the Irish-based airline, concern was expressed at the delivery of key aircraft and broader economic conditions.
Ryanair had confirmed a deal for 300 new planes with Boeing, which it said was a record US order by an Irish company.
But the company said it was concerned that up to 10 of 57 deliveries before summer next year may be delayed until the following winter.
The Boeing deal involved an initial order of 150 of the 737 MAX 10 aircraft, with an option for a further 150 for delivery between 2027 to 2033.
The broader economic environment of high inflation and interest rates was reflected in Ryanair identifying the “risk of weaker consumer” spending over the coming months.