Low-cost carrier Ryanair is to open a new base at Southend Airport in the UK from next April.
The airline will base three aircraft at the airport, flying 13 routes to eight countries. The destinations served will be Alicante, Barcelona Reus, Bilbao, Brest, Corfu, Cluj, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan Bergamo, Palma and Venice.
In total, Ryanair will offer more than 55 weekly flights during summer 2019.
Ryanair’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said the new Crossrail service opening in 2019 would make Southend Airport more accessible to London.
Warwick Brady, chief executive of airport-owner Stobart Group, added: “We have a clear and focused strategy to grow our airport to welcome over five million passengers a year by 2022.
“This news will help us achieve that aim, and Ryanair will be a valuable partner to Stobart Group in developing London Southend airport with 13 routes and six new destinations, allowing us to play a key role in solving London’s capacity crisis.”
Ryanair operates from three London airports - Stansted, Luton and Gatwick - but the majority of its capacity is through Stansted. However, Southend has positioned itself as a viable alternative to the increasingly congested London market.
easyJet already operates from Southend, flying to 18 destinations this summer including Barcelona, Faro, Geneva, Malaga and Palma.