Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair to invest £163m in new Frankfurt am Main base

Ryanair is to set up a new base in Frankfurt, Germany's financial capital, months after warning that it would "pivot" growth away from UK airports in light of the Brexit vote.

The budget airline said it will start operating flights from Frankfurt am Main, the city's main airport, flying four new routes to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma.

The company added that the move represents "rapid growth in the German market" and means it the first low-fares airline to open a base at the airport, pitting it against Lufthansa.

In July, the carrier said the decision by Britain to quit the European Union was "a surprise and a disappointment", adding: "We will pivot our growth away from UK airports and focus more on growing at our EU airports over the next two years."

The move comes as key financial centres in Frankfurt and Paris are encouraging heavyweight financial firms to shift their operations away from London after Brexit to maintain smooth trading across Europe.

In September, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary told the Press Association that the Brexit vote is beginning to affect investment and highlighted the importance of the single market.

"The impact is beginning to be felt as investment decisions are being already postponed. Whether the UK leaves the EU or stays, I couldn't care less. The issue for us is whether we stay in the single market," he said.

Ryanair will invest 200 million US dollars (£163.4 million) in basing two aircraft at Frankfurt am Main. The firm currently operates flights from Frankfurt-Hahn airport, which is more than 60 miles (97km) from Frankfurt.