DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair forecast a record annual profit on Monday and pledged to pay investors a regular dividend for the first time, as the airline’s fares soared over the summer season.

Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers said it expected an after-tax profit of between 1.85 billion and 2.05 billion euros for the year to the end of March, well surpassing its previous record of 1.45 billion euros in 2018.

The low-cost airline earned 2.18 billion euros in the six months to the end of September, the first half of its financial year, 59% more than its previous record for this period, set last year .

Traffic rose 11% during the period to 105 million passengers, and fares rose 24% year-on-year, Ryanair said in a statement.

The group also announced its first ordinary dividend of €400 million, split between an interim dividend of €200 million in February and a final dividend of €200 million in September next year.

As part of a new dividend policy, Ryanair plans to pay out, for subsequent financial years, around 25% of the previous financial year’s after-tax profit as an ordinary dividend, the airline said.

(Written by Conor Humphries; Dagmarah Mackos; edited by Blandine Hénault)

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