Ryanair has reported a 24% increase in average fares, forecasting record profits for the company. This comes as the airline saw a record number of passengers over the summer.

Compared to the previous year, the average fare increased by 24% to €58 (approximately £50.27), as reported in Ryanair's results for the first half of the 2023/24 financial year.

Michael O'Leary, the CEO of the budget airline, had earlier stated this year that fares were unlikely to rise by more than 20%, with a likelihood of growth ranging from 10% to 15%.

Ryanair's total revenue for the six months ending in September was €8.58 billion (approximately £7.43 billion). The increase in passengers, reaching over 105 million for the half-year, was attributed to a strong Easter and record summer demand.

Over the next 10 years, Ryanair, the largest European airline by passenger numbers, plans to increase its passenger count to 300 million per year.

The company's latest forecasts anticipate record profits by the end of this financial year in March. Ryanair announced on Monday that it expects post-tax profits between €1.85 billion (approximately £1.6 billion) and €2.05 billion (approximately £1.77 billion), significantly surpassing the previous record of €1.45 billion (approximately £1.25 billion) set in 2018.

After-tax profits have already increased by 59% compared to the same period last year, totaling €2.18 billion (approximately £1.88 billion) for the six months ending in September.

As a result, Ryanair is paying dividends to its shareholders for the first time. Investors expect to receive €0.35 (approximately £0.30) per share, as part of a total payout of €400 million (approximately £346.6 million), which will be distributed in February and September of next year.

Despite the financial success of the Irish airline, concerns have been raised about the delivery of key aircraft and broader economic conditions. Ryanair confirmed a deal with Boeing for the delivery of 300 new aircraft, which it considers a record order for the Irish company in the US. However, the company expressed concerns that up to 10 of the 57 deliveries by next summer could be delayed until the following winter.

The broader economic situation, characterized by high inflation and interest rates, has led Ryanair to identify a "risk of reduced consumer spending" in the coming months.