Ryanair stocks take off in first quarter

Europe’s biggest budget airline Ryanair has survived a curse of international airline disasters to see profits soar over the first quarter of 2014, it was revealed today.

Despite a per-passenger increase of just 4%, a 9% increase in average fares helped revenues to rise 11%. The Dublin-based company said that late Easter holidays had helped to triple profits compared to the previous quarter, bringing these to €197m in the three months to the end of June. This news was particularly well received by investors considering that holiday revenue fell during the same period last year.

As part of its commitment to shareholders, Ryanair said on Monday that it would pay out a special dividend of €520m in its fiscal fourth quarter. The company has pledged to return €1bn to shareholders and has already completed a €482m share buyback programme.

Notorious for its cautious outlook, Ryanair welcomed the news but warned against “any irrational exuberance.” The airline has raised its full-year net profit forecasts from a range of €580m-€620m to €620m-€650m, keeping them below Reuters’ consensus forecast of €655m.