IRISH low-cost carrier Ryanair has declared its first ever dividend, after recording a full year after-tax profit of €319 million (more than A$530m).
The result is more than three times last year’s figure, with Ryanair carrying 66.5 million passengers during the year, an increase of 14%.
Overall revenue was up just 2% to €2.988 billion, with highlights of the year including growing the Ryanair fleet by 51 aircraft to 232 Boeing 737-800s, the establishment of 8 new bases and adding 284 new routes.
Average Ryanair fares fell 13% during the year, with the profit attributable to lower fuel costs and “rigorous cost control”.
Ryanair said capacity cuts by many of its competitors caused traffic to fall at major European airports.
“We are inundated with offers from large and small airports competing with lower costs and efficient facilities to win Ryanair’s growth,” the carrier said.
Ryanair is predicting an 11% growth in passenger numbers over the next 12 months, and also confirmed that costs associated with the “repeated and unnecessary” closure of European airspace due to the eruption of the volcano in Iceland will amount to over €50m.
The one-off €500m dividend is subject to shareholder approval.