More than a year after it was declared that the "golden era of cheap air travel is over", there are warnings of higher fares from one major airline.

Budget carrier Ryanair has cautioned over ongoing steep hikes in air fares as it posted a 59% jump in first-half earnings which came after record summer demand and higher prices offset rising fuel costs.

The Irish airline said air fares rose by 24% on average to around €58 (£50) in its first half.

The carrier is forecasting a "mid-teens percentage" rise in average fares over the final three months of 2023.

READ MORE: Airline launches four new routes from Scottish airport

Rising prices, together with a marked recovery in demand for air travel over Easter and the summer, helped counter a 29% rise in first half fuel costs to help it post the 59% surge in after tax profits, to €2.18 billion (£1.89bn) for the six months to September 30.

The group said it expects full-year earnings to rise by up to 30%, forecasting after tax profits of between €1.85bn (£1.6bn) to €2.05bn (£1.78bn), up from €1.43bn (£1.24bn) in 2022-23.

READ MORE: Airline launches new route from Scottish airport to Italy

Third Bridge analysts warned in 2022 that "the golden age of cheap air travel is over thanks to decade-high oil prices and inflation".

Russell Pointon, director at Edison Group, said: "Ryanair's first-half financials have taken off, showing a strong industry rebound as airlines continued to recover post the pandemic ... driven by higher fares and a summer travel surge."

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He said: "Passenger volumes rose to 105 million, an 11% increase ... the outlook for the year is cautiously positive, anticipating net profits between €1.85bn and €2.05bn, which includes potential winter losses and limited visibility on the fourth quarter.

"This performance reflects the airline sector's recovery post-pandemic though it will be worth watching the airline industry's response to the EU's probe into rising airline costs."

So there may still be some scope for a better passenger costs outlook in the longer term.