Ryanair increased its special dividend size to shareholders by €6 million ($7.7 million) to €489 million after reporting a €596 million net profit in the first half of this year.

The low-cost carrier had announced plans to pay a €483 million dividend in May, after reporting a €680 million increase in its position during its 2012 fiscal year ending 31 March.

In June 2010 Ryanair announced its first dividend of €0.34 per share, through which it returned almost €500 million to shareholders. The carrier says it has returned €1.53 billion via dividends and share buybacks during the past five years. This compares with a total equity raised of just €585 million since Ryanair's flotation in 1997.

"Over that period we have grown passenger volume from three million to 79 million per annum while the fleet has expanded from 12 to 298 aircraft, and our balance sheet is in a strong net cash position," says Ryanair.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news