Ryanair announce seven new Belfast routes including Berlin and Milan
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has revealed seven new routes from Belfast as part of the airline's fresh expansion plans here.
The low-cost airline chief is presenting a keynote speech at Davy Private Clients' inaugural annual conference at the Europa Hotel on Thursday.
The outspoken boss has revealed seven additional routes Ryanair is bringing to Belfast.
The seven new routes for Belfast winter 2016 include:
Berlin (£19.99 3 weekly)
Milan (£19.99 2 weekly)
Lanzarote (£34.99 2 weekly)
Tenerife (£34.99 2 weekly)
Alicante (£24.99 3 weekly)
Krakow (£19.99 3 weekly)
Malaga (£24.99 4 weekly)
*prices are from amount stated and are one way*
The airline, which is investing $300m (£200m) in three new planes, said it would create 750 jobs when it begins flying four times to London Gatwick daily.
It's six years since the budget carrier pulled out of Belfast City airport, following delays to a planned runway extension.
Ryanair has said it will bring a million more passengers through its new city hub at Belfast International Airport.
Speaking in Belfast Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: "This large inward investment (over $300m) and new job creation is the latest example of how Northern Ireland benefits from the UK’s membership of the European Union.
"Low fare air travel, which was pioneered by Ryanair in the UK and Europe, is one of the EU’s great success stories."
Belfast International Airport's managing director, Graham Keddie, says the inclusion of Berlin and Milan represents a long-awaited breakthrough into the lucrative German and Italian markets, and is a cause for major celebration in Northern Ireland.
Mr Keddie said: "To say we’re delighted with this expansion would be an under-statement. For us, the inclusion of Berlin fulfils a major ambition, and is the long-awaited breakthrough we have worked to achieve.
“This new network comes at no cost to the taxpayer or support from Government. It will provide direct access to Northern Ireland, drive up tourism numbers, increase Northern Ireland’s international appeal and lead to many hundreds of new jobs.
“These new jobs will be at the airport and the ever-increasing supply chain. Already, we’ve announced close to 300 new jobs which will generate £4.8 million in wages, but that’s just the beginning of an amazing period of growth and expansion that will be the inevitable consequence of this most welcome announcement."
Meanwhile, according to the Centre for Aviation, which provides independent market analysis on the sector, 2016 could be Ryanair's most profitable year in 11 years.
Mr O'Leary will be addressing more than 400 of Northern Ireland's top business leaders during the Davy event this week.
The panel discussion will include contributions from Brian O'Reilly, Davy's head of global investment strategy, Alan Werlau, UK investment strategist, and Andrew Fisher, former chief executive of Coutts & Co.