Ryanair announces 10 new summer routes from Belfast
1.1m customers expected
Ryanair is continuing to grow its Belfast base, and says fares may drop as much as 12pc in the next six months.
The airline's summer 2017 schedule from Belfast, launched today, will feature 10 new routes including Lanzarote, Malaga, Tenerife and Warsaw.
Ryanair already operates the routes as winter services, as it does Milan, Berlin, London Gatwick, Alicante, Gdansk and Wroclaw, but this is the first time it is investing in a summer schedule of this size from Belfast.
The new schedule will deliver 1.1 million customers next year and support over 800 jobs at Belfast International Airport, Ryanair said.
Fares can also be expected to fall, added CEO Michael O'Leary.
"As our recent guidance confirmed, Ryanair expects average fares to fall by between 10pc to 12pc in the six months to March 2017," he said in Belfast.
As of July, Ryanair's average fare is €39.92.
The news comes amid reports that Ryanair plans to cut routes from Derry City Airport to London Stansted and Portugal (Faro) next year. It already plans to axe 1,600 flights (or 300,000 passengers) from Dublin Airport in 2017.
Ryanair re-established its base at Belfast this March with a three-times daily service to London Gatwick. It is now basing three aircraft in the city.
“Three based aircraft underlines Ryanair’s clear intention to go for growth in Northern Ireland," said Belfast International Airport Managing Director, Graham Keddie.
"It’s a hugely significant investment in its new hub and one that is based on clear passenger demand."
Further growth could be ushered in if the Northern Ireland Executive reduced or removed a "regressive" Air Passenger Duty, Keddie added.
Summer 2017 seats are on sale at £19.99 until Friday, September 23.