Ryanair announced its maiden dividend for shareholders this morning as soaring ticket fares helped the carrier net a record €2.18bn (£1.8bn) half-year profit.
Revenues rose by nearly a third to €8.6bn for the six months to 30 September, on the back of a 24 per cent jump in ticket fares, per a market update this morning.
The low cost-carrier said it now anticipates an annual post-tax profit of between €1.85bn and €2.05bn, well ahead of a previous record of €1.45bn in 2018. Half-year earnings of €2.18bn were up 59 per cent, also breaking a prior record set last year.
Shares in Ryanair jumped six per cent on the open.
It comes after a record summer of traffic for the Dublin-headquartered firm, which has seen passenger numbers fly on resurgent demand for travel following years of Covid-era travel restrictions.
Traffic grew 11 per cent to 105.4m passengers, with the lionshare of the numbers coming in over the summer.
Ryanair announced its maiden ordinary dividend of €400m, split between an initial payment of €200m in February and a final dividend of €200m in September 2024.
Despite the bumper results, chief executive Michael O’Leary noted headwinds in the form of rising fuel costs, Boeing delivery delays and Europe’s “inefficient” air traffic control system.
“While Boeing are currently suffering delivery delays with Spirit – their fuselage supplier – we are working with them to minimise delays ahead of peak summer 2024. At this stage, we are concerned that up to 10 of our 57 contracted gamechanger deliveries pre summer may be delayed until winter 2024.”
Operating costs rose by just under a quarter to €6.2bn as a result of higher staffing and fuel costs, up 29 per cent year-on-year.
The results continue a booming year for the airline, but it has not been without its fair share of problems. The firm lowered its annual passenger forecast to 183.5m in July, citing Boeing 737 deliver delays in the coming spring and autumn.
Other carriers have seen a share price slump over the last month as conflict in the Middle East bumps up global oil prices and supply chain snarl-ups bite. Ryanair is one of the most strongly hedged airlines, with fuel requirements hedged at approximately 85 per cent for 2024.