Ryanair announces a €800m share buy back as its profits double

The company says that it expects average fares to fall by 6%

Accounts for the Irish airline's third quarter, which ended on December 31st, swelled to €103m, up from €49m 12 months ago.

This was fuelled by a 25% surge in passenger numbers to 20 million, with average fares falling by 1%.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said that the company's decision to buy back shares was due to "rising profitability and improving cash flow."

The buyback will begin on Friday, February 5th and it will span nine months. When a company buys back shares it increases the value of the remaining shares.

Ryanair expects to benefit from lower fuel costs in the coming years, it has hedged 95% of its fuel requirements for 2017 at $62 a barrel, and half of its 2018 requirement at $52 a barrel.

Speaking to Business Breakfast, Ryanair's Chief Commercial Officer David O'Brien said that this will lead to savings of €430m - and that the company intends to pass these savings on to customers through lower fares.

Payments for fuel make up 40% of the airline's total costs.

Ryanair opened four new bases during the quarter in Berlin, Corfu, Gothenburg and Milan Malpensa. The company has also launched a new app and website.