Ryanair has announced plans for 12 new routes from Malta next summer and says it intends to base a fifth aircraft on the island.

David O’Brien, chief commercial officer, told a press conference that the low-cost airline will operate 54 routes to 18 countries from Malta next summer.

The new routes are Aberdeen, Belfast,  Seville,  Pescara, Bratislava, Gothenburg, Paris Beauvais, Porto, Tallin and extended services to Barcelona, Naples and Riga. Services to Naples and Riga are being introduced from this winter. The service to Barcelona will fly to the city's main airport. 

"This is good news for Malta as new routes will enhance diversification of inflows and outflows," Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi observed. He said most of the services were new for Malta and there was hardly any overlap with Air Malta. 

Mr O'Brien said Ryanair hopes to bring 2.5 million people to Malta next year.

Mr Mizzi said plans were also in train for cooperation between Ryanair and Air Malta in sales and commercial aspects, including sales on the Ryanair commercial portal. Talks are in hand on cooperation on connecting flights.

It was also announced that Ryanair will make a bid for ailing Italian flag carrier Alitalia in the coming weeks.

"There is a future of growth for Alitalia,"  Mr O'Brien said.  

Ryanair is releasing seats for sale from just €16.99 for travel from October to December. They are available for booking until midnight Tuesday on its website.  

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