Low cost carrier Ryanair has become Malta's largest airline surpassing Air Malta for the first time last year.

Gaining a share of 36% of all passengers arriving in Malta, the Irish airline announced the introduction of three new connections as from next winter - Naples, Belfast and Riga - pushing its routes up to 40 next winter.

Ryanair's chief commercial officer David O'Brian said that the airline also planned to increase frequencies to six new destinations including Venice, Stockholm and Gdansk.

He said that Ryanair was in Malta to stay and was planning to expand further. It was competing on few routes with Air Malta and would continue to grow independently of any decision taken regarding the national airline.

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