Budget carrier Ryanair has announced a significant investment in Scotland with one new dedicated aircraft and six new destinations from the Scottish capital.

The new destinations for summer 2023 are Belfast, Bournemouth, Cornwall, London Stansted, Rhodes – earlier highlighted in The Herald – and Venice, with a total of 69 routes.

Ryanair has also increased frequencies on over 30 of its Edinburgh routes and it said that the “record schedule” will see the firm base one new aircraft in Edinburgh taking the fleet to 11, representing a further $100m investment in itself and creating over 30 new highly paid jobs for pilots and cabin crew.

It is understood a further announcement will follow next week on routes from Glasgow.

It said overall it was a $1.1bn investment, or almost £1bn. It will mean increased frequencies on routes including Alicante, Barcelona, Brussels Charleroi, Milan and Shannon.

It also said there will be over 25 per cent capacity growth versus last year with 4.7 million passengers expected this year.

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Although Ryanair welcomed the UK Government’s 50% air passenger duty cut for domestic travel from April, it said "this reduction ignores international connectivity which is fundamental for the growth of the UK’s economy and tourism".

Ryanair said it is calling on the UK Government to fully abolish APD immediately for all travel, which "would not only promote tourism, but support much-needed connectivity to the UK, an island-based economy".

Dara Brady, of Ryanair, said: “As the UK’s no.1 airline for low fares and reliability, Ryanair is pleased to announce our new Edinburgh schedule for Summer 2023, with six exciting new routes to Belfast, Bournemouth, Cornwall, London Stansted, Rhodes and Venice, offering Edinburgh customers/visitors even more choice for their summer holidays at the lowest fares in Europe."

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He said: "This record 2023 schedule will see the addition of one new based aircraft (11 total), representing another $100m investment in Edinburgh Airport ($1.1bn total) and supporting over 330 highly paid pilot and crew jobs, as Ryanair continues to deliver more traffic, connectivity, and lower fares than any other airline for the UK.

“However, if we are to continue to grow and to drive recovery and connectivity to the UK, Prime Minister Sunak must immediately scrap APD in full for all travel (not just domestic travel) and provide incentives for airlines like Ryanair to stimulate growth and recovery for the UK and its regions.”

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Kate Sherry, aviation director at Edinburgh Airport, said: “With six fantastic new routes, and increased frequency to many of Europe’s most popular destinations, the arrival of Ryanair’s summer schedule for ’23 is great news for our passengers - as is the introduction of the new cleaner, quieter Boeing 737 Gamechanger aircraft for many of these flights.

“It is always our aim to offer as much choice as possible from Edinburgh and the announcement of this schedule comes as we continue to build towards a strong summer season at the airport.

“This investment, which will also see an additional Ryanair aircraft based at EDI, is a real show of faith in the market - illustrating the growing demand for travel we’re seeing at Edinburgh.”