This article has been adapted from our sister site across the pond, Fool UK.

Dublin-based budget airline Ryanair (Nasdaq: RYAAY) reported a 24% fall in first quarter after-tax profits, to €93.7m, on Tuesday. That was partly caused by the cancellation of 9,400 flights in the wake of the ash cloud from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, and partly due to increased fuel charges.

However, once the effects of the volcano are taken out, underlying profit for the quarter rose by 1% to €138.5m. The company also reiterated its intention to pay its first-ever dividend in October, when €500m should be handed to shareholders.

Passenger numbers up
Total revenue for the quarter grew by 16%, with the airline carrying 18 million passengers, a rise of 8% over the same period last year. Adjusted basic earnings per share came in at 9.36 euro cents, a marginal bump from last year's 9.26c.

Fuel costs rose by 34%, but that was not all for the wrong reasons. In addition to rising prices, some of that also came from Ryanair's expansion into longer routes. The airline sees considerable opportunity for further expansion here in the coming years.

Once the €50 million euro costs of the volcanic stoppages are stripped out, Ryanair expects underlying profit for the year to rise about 10%-15% and reach the €350-375 million mark.

The closure of much of Europe's airspace for those 18 days in April and May was slated as "unnecessary" by CEO Michael O'Leary, who, in his characteristic public style, went on to complain about flight taxes in the U.K. and Ireland, high costs because of BAA's airport monopoly, and the EU's passenger-compensation regulations.

The company says it is still wading through masses of compensation claims, and argues that since ferries and buses are only liable for refunding the costs of their tickets, airlines face discrimination under EU rules. And in some ways it does seem unfair that governments close airspace, but it's the airlines who have to pick up the costs of emergency accommodation and the like.

The winter is too far ahead and too unpredictable to estimate, but the second quarter covers the traditional holiday period, so investors will be keenly watching the critical next three months -- and hoping for no further eruptions, either from volcanoes or from Mr. O'Leary.

More from Fool UK's Alan Oscroft: