Ryanair posts record 2016 profit, sees lower summer fares

European budget carrier Ryanair has posted record full-year profits and passenger figures, and expects both to hit new highs this summer amid rapid growth and declining fares.

Monday's results for the year ending March 31 showed the Dublin-based airline strengthening on every front. Net profits before exceptional gains rose 43 percent to 1.24 billion euros ($1.4 billion), the percentage of seats sold rose 5 points to 93 percent, and total passengers for the year rose 18 percent to 106.4 million.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary says Ryanair expects average fares to fall 7 percent in this fiscal year amid increased competition and well-hedged fuel costs. He says Ryanair should carry 116 million passengers and record a minimum net 2017 profit of 1.38 billion euros, 11 percent higher than Monday's all-time high.