Ryanair shares soar to new high on back of strong winter sales, 3rd straight profit upgrade

Ryanair keeps soaring higher and higher.

Europe's biggest budget airline announced its third profits upgrade of the year Thursday on the back of unexpectedly strong winter seat sales. Shares surged more than 9 percent to above 9.50 euros ($11.70), a record high.

The Dublin-based airline says it expects net profits for the fiscal year ending in March to reach at least 810 million euros ($1 billion), 8 percent higher than its previous upgraded forecast issued last month.

Ryanair said it filled 88 percent of seats in November, compared to 81 percent a year ago, despite a 7 percent expansion of winter services. It said sales of its flexible business-class tickets were particularly strong. It now expects to carry 90 million passengers this year, 1 million more than previously forecast.