Ryanair is landing in Flybe’s backyard by starting flights from the UK regional carrier’s Exeter base.

The European low-cost fares carrier plans to introduce three routes from the Devon airport as part of an expanded 2019 summer schedule.

Flybe has its headquarters at Exeter airport and runs flights to a range of destinations including Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin and Manchester.

Ryanair will be flying to Malaga, Malta and Naples from the south-west airport as part of its programme for next summer which went on sale yesterday (Thursday).

The introduction of Exeter will bring the number of UK airports served by Ryanair up to 21.

The Irish carrier previously introduced 23 new routes for next year to give a total of 180 from the four London-area airports it will be operating from – Stansted, Luton, Gatwick and Southend.

Ryanair is building on its record group bookings by extending the choice for group travel across Europe with more connections from key European airports such as Dublin, London, Berlin, Madrid and Milan.

New group travel destinations such as Marrakesh, Jordan, Dalaman and Kiev have been put on sale.

Marketing operations director, Matthias Wenk, said: “We are pleased to launch our summer 2019 schedule, offering a vast choice of destinations especially for group travel on both exciting new destinations such as Dalaman, Marrakesh, Jordan or Kiev as well as on old favourites like Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Berlin, Brussels, Krakow, Salzburg – with even more new routes to come.

“Ryanair’s groups service significantly lowers the cost for all types of group travel, whether educational, leisure, sports or religious trips.”

The move came as budget rival easyJet put flights on sale for travel up until June 23, 2019.

More than 14.4 million seats are available to and from the UK on 83,000 flights from March 31. The total programme across Europe covers more than 151,000 flights accounting for 26 million seats across 1,000 destinations.

EasyJet UK director Sophie Dekkers said: “We have a number of exciting destinations to choose from for those looking to jet off on holiday and passengers travelling for business can also take advantage of our regular and convenient flight times to major city airports across our network.”

Sample single fares start at £36.21 from Newcastle to Malaga, £37.22 from Gatwick to Barcelona, £38.23 from Liverpool to Alicante and £39.24 from Bristol to Porto.

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