Ryanair has reported a profit of €245m for the three months to the end of June – the first quarter of the airline’s financial year.

The figure was up 25% on the same three months of last year, as passenger numbers grew by 16% to 28 million.

Revenue swelled 10% to €1.65 billion in the same period, while net cash increased to over €550m - from €364m in March - despite capital expenditure of €324m during the period.

The airline said it also saw share buy-backs of €195m in the quarter, with almost 90% of this €400m programme now complete.

Ryanair said that when that closes in August, it will have returned almost €3 billlion to its shareholders by special dividends and share buybacks since 2008.   

"We are pleased to report strong growth in traffic and profits in Q1," said Chief Executive Michael O'Leary.

"Our mix of low fares, best on time performance and enhanced customer experience ... continues to attract millions of new customers. At the same time our focus on cost enables us to pass on lower fares to customers."

Earlier this month, meanwhile, Ryanair finally accepted International Airlines Group's bid for its near 30% stake in rival Aer Lingus, clearing the way for end of a drawn-out takeover.

IAG, parent of British Airways and Iberia, had made a takeover bid valuing Aer Lingus at €1.4 billion that had repeatedly been rejected by Ryanair.

Ryanair itself had previously launched three unsuccessful takeover attempts for Aer Lingus.

"As the Ryanair brand develops and continues to grow strongly, the original rationale for acquiring Aer Lingus no longer exists," the airline said.

"If the IAG offer is successful, then we would expect to receive these proceeds in mid/late September and the board will consider our use of the proceeds around the time of our annual general meeting."

Turning to the outlook, Ryanair forecast that its full-year profit would be "towards the upper end" of its guidance range of between €940m and €970m.