It’s proved to be a golden year so far for Europe’s largest passenger carrier. The Dublin-based low-cost airline saw first-half profits rise by 37%, to well over €1 billion, with passenger numbers and revenue both experiencing double digit percentage rises of their own.

So, what exactly were the key contributors to Ryanair’s impressive results? According to Chief Executive Michael O’Leary, it would appear that the airline reaped the benefits of a (metaphorical) perfect storm. Mr O’Leary attributed this ‘Bumper summer’ to ‘a very rare confluence of events’, including the strengthening of GBP and inclement weather conditions in Northern Europe, which presumably saw more people seeking sunnier climes further south and using Ryanair to get there.

However, Ryanair has also been extremely active in the financial hedging scene. The company has attempted to capitalise on the recent weak price level of oil to hedge heavily on fuel (the Irish Times reported that the airline has extended its fuel hedges to 95% cover for the 2017 fiscal year, which could potentially deliver savings running into the hundreds of millions – if, of course, the hedge pays off).

Mr O’Leary was also quick to draw attention to the significant bump in passengers, which he attributed to the positive reaction to the airline’s ‘Always Getting Better’ customer experience programme. Ryanair used to be infamous for its dire customer experience, but the airline launched a charm offensive in early 2014, the aim of which, as Ryanair’s CMO Kenny Jacobs said at the time, was to ‘become as liked as we are useful’ (it’s unclear whether Mr O’Leary underwent this change of heart whilst on a flight to Damascus). Whilst Ryanair is still not exactly loved, customers are far more positive towards it than they used to be, something reflected in the surge in passenger numbers. The airline is both willing and eager to accommodate this passenger influx; it has revised its planned passenger forecasts for a decade’s time upwards by 20 million to 180 million passengers a year.

Although Ryanair has worked hard at addressing customer concerns, the company has not forgotten the main factor that attracted customers to it in the first place – its low-cost pricing. Comments made by Mr O’Leary suggest that Ryanair is planning to slash fare prices in the coming year, with the outspoken CEO saying that the airline’s prices will ‘trash everyone’. This will undoubtedly be welcome news to prospective flyers, although this warning may trigger alarm bells at competitors such as Easyjet.

At the time of writing (16:05 GMT, 2nd November 2015), Ryanair’s share price is up by 3.19% at 13.92, with investors responding positively to the airline’s good news and confident predictions. Another factor for shareholders to consider is the fact that the culmination of the long-running legal battle over Ryanair’s share in Aer Lingus has now come to an end, with Ryanair announcing that it plans to return the €398 million proceeds to shareholders later this month.

Will Ryanair’s rose (or should that be emerald) tinted view of its future come to pass? It’s unclear, but one thing is for sure, with someone like Michael O’Leary at the helm, the future certainly won’t be boring.