Belgian airline VLM is returning to Manchester airport this autumn with two routes after a nine year absence.

Twice daily flights will run to Antwerp on weekdays with daily flights at weekends from October 1, while Ostend-Bruges will gain a daily service.

VLM previously offered direct flights to Antwerp, Belgium’s second city, in 2009.

The return of the airline will give Manchester the first direct flight to Ostend-Bruges, offering passengers access to the city of Bruges.

The flights will operate on a Fokker 50 aircraft with fares starting at £39 one way including taxes.

VLM Regional commercial director Konstantijn Huys said: “We are very happy to re-establish the route between Manchester and Antwerp.

“Antwerp is not only Europe’s second largest seaport and the world’s diamond capital, the city also has the second largest petrochemical cluster in the world after Houston, Texas.

“The city is also renowned for its thriving fashion, cultural, culinary and heritage scene.”

He added: “Passengers flying to Bruges-Ostend airport are within 20 minutes of the medieval city centre of Bruges, also often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’.

“Bruges-Ostend airport is also the perfect gateway for a visit to Flanders Fields, where so many young people sacrificed their lives during WW1.

“In the lead up to 11th November there will be numerous centennial events in West-Flanders commemorating the end of the Great War.”

Manchester Airport aviation director Julian Carr added: “We’re delighted to see VLM coming back to Manchester to re-connect the airport with Antwerp and also launch services to Ostend-Bruges.

“Both destinations are perfect for city breaks and I’m sure they’ll prove hugely popular with the 22 million people in our catchment area.”