Ryanair has announced plans to distribute the €398m it made from the sale of its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus to its shareholders.

Shareholders at the airline's AGM in Dublin today were told that the proceeds of the sale will be distributed by way of a "B" share programme.

This is subject to shareholder approval, which will be sought at a company EGM. 

When the payout is completed, Ryanair will have returned €800m to shareholders this year, and over €3.3 billion over the last seven years.

Ryanair's chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said that shareholders would receive approximately 29.4 cents per share.

The company will then carry out a 39 for 40 consolidation of shares to keep the share price stable.

He told reporters that the company decided to use this scheme rather than a more traditional share buyback or dividend to underline the fact that this is an exceptional event. 

"We will have given back €1.3 billion to shareholders since January, profits are starting to rise and if an expectation gets out there that Ryanair is good for €1.3 billion a year in dividends, that is the wrong message to send," Sorahan said. 

Shareholders at the Ryanair AGM today also heard that the airline has raised its full year traffic forecast to 104 million from 103 million. 
 

The airline has also revised upwards its profit guidance by 25% to €1.2 billion from €970m and said the improvements were due to its "Always Getting Better" customer experience programme.

It also briefed shareholders on further improvements planned for this year, including new primary airports in Amsterdam, Cologne, and Copenhagen.

A new personalised website, an improved mobile app, new cabin interiors, crew uniforms and improved inflight menus are also due to come on stream later this year.