Ryanair profits rise by 59% to €2.18b after fare hikes

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has reported a rise in profits to more than €2b (£1.9b) after a “strong Easter [and] record summer traffic”, according to boss Michal O’Leary.

It comes as the chief executive said the board planned to return €400m (£346.6m) to shareholders in two dividends in February and September 2024.

Ryanair’s profits rose by 59 per cent in the six months ended on 30 September, the first half of the airline’s financial year.

The controversial carrier said passenger numbers rose 11 per cent to a record 105.4 million in the six months to September, despite average fares rising by 24 per cent.

With a 3.9 per cent shareholding, Mr O’Leary is set to receive about €15.6m (£13.5m) from the dividends. He said: “We’re pleased to report strong half year results … due to a very strong Easter [and] record summer traffic”.

But the increase in air fares for passengers – which climbed to an average of about €58 (£50) – helped the airline to offset higher fuel costs.

In response to the news, Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Our latest research has found that air fares are at record highs, with the price of tickets rising at a rate that has massively outstripped inflation.

“On top of this, airlines are feathering their nests with a dizzying array of extra charges for everything from guaranteeing a seat with your family to taking a full-sized piece of luggage – fees which only continue to soar…

“This year we’ve continued to hear widespread reports from travellers complaining of shoddy customer service and a lack of assistance in the wake of cancellations and delays.

“With Ryanair set to announce record profits, it seems only right that some of this money is reinvested into improving the passenger experience.”

Under a new policy, the airline will return 25 per cent of the previous year’s profit after tax to shareholders in ordinary dividends. Ryanair expects profits to reach between €1.85b and €2.05b in its current financial year, which ends on 31 March.

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