Ryanair to add 300 new jobs and nine new routes from Dublin
Plans expected to add 700,000 extra passengers
Ryanair has announced nine new routes from Dublin from next April to Almeria, Bari, Basel, Bucharest, Chania, Comiso, Lisbon, Marrakesh and Prague which will create 300 additional jobs in 2014 and which will carry and extra 700,000 passengers.
Speaking at the announcement this morning, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that this announcement was a direct result of the government scrapping the travel tax in last month's Budget.
"It's a brilliant reaction from Ryanair," he said. "I've always had a regard for Michael O'Leary who makes decisions and gets on with it."
In the response the Ryanair boss said "I commend the scrapping travel tax which was key to this growth. The government are playing a key role in making Ireland an attractive travel destination."
Mr O'Leary said there were signs that the economy is going in the right direction.
And he added that with traffic increasing he has had to take out his taxi plate for the first time in three years.
The Ryanair plans were unveiled today at the Aviva Stadium and they mark the first time in years that the Ryanair and the Dublin Airport Authority have sealed an expansion deal after frequently being at loggerheads in the past.
The plans will be welcomed by tourism chiefs, who are already basking in the glow of improved visitor numbers to the country this year after the success of the Government's 'Gathering' initiative.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the number of visitors between January and August this year rose by 6.5pc, or 291,000, versus the corresponding period last year.
During the summer, the numbers of overseas visitors to Ireland rose 6.7pc, or 142,000 to 2.26million. Dublin Airport handled 19.1 million passengers last year, up 2pc on 2011. It expects to report record transatlantic traffic this year.
Ryanair, the second-biggest carrier at Dublin Airport after Aer Lingus, pledged in October to bring an extra 1 million passengers to Irish airports after Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he would scrap a controversial travel tax from next April.
Ryanair gave Shannon Airport, which now operates independently of the DAA, a huge boost last month when it announced that it will launch eight new routes from the airport next year.
It will fly to Berlin, Munich, Krakow, Paris, Faro, the Canaries and Nice. The airline said the increased services would result in 300,000 seats being added to Ryanair's operations at Shannon in a full year, nearly doubling its capacity at the airport to 750,000.
Last month, Ryanair also announced expansion plans at Knock. It will open new routes to Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Kaunas in Lithuania, and to Glasgow Prestwick. Services to London Luton will be increased from 16 flights a week to 18. The growth will add an expected 80,000 passengers a year through Knock.
Mr O'Leary has also said that he wants to increase traffic at Cork and Kerry.