Liverpool John Lennon Airport is to become the eighth European base for Romanian budget carrier carrier Blue Air.
The airline will operate a 189-seat Boeing 737-800 from the airport on Merseyside with four new routes next summer.
Daily flights will run to to Rome Fiumicino airport, plus four flights a week to Milan Bergamo; four a week to Hamburg and three a week to Alicante.
The new services will complement Blue Air’s existing flights from Liverpool to three destinations in Romania.
An additional 160,000 seats will be on sale for the new flights to and from Liverpool in summer 2017.
One-way fares lead in at £16.99 to Hamburg, £24.99 to Milan and Rome and £29.99 to Alicante.
The basing of a Blue Air aircraft at Liverpool will also create up to 35 new jobs in positions such as pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
Blue Air is also considering a special Liverpool focus for the livery of the aircraft to be based at the airport.
The airline started flying from Liverpool in December 2014, with a three times weekly service to Bucharest and has since added routes to Bacau and Cluj-Napoca.
Blue Air has carried almost 120,000 passengers on flights to and from Liverpool in less than two years of operations.
The carrier is forecasting a 50% increase in traffic across its network this year to 3.2 million passengers over 2015.
Chief executive Gheorghe Racaru said: “Today is a historic moment for both Blue Air and the Liverpool city region as we announce our eighth base at the airport, adding four routes.
“In fact, we are going to put three brand new destinations on Liverpool’s route map, by flying directly to the currently unserved cities of Rome, Milan and Hamburg, which are likely to be popular with customers travelling for both business and leisure.
“Additionally, we will offer the region’s passengers an increased choice with our Alicante service.
“The UK is a strategic market for Blue Air and we strongly believe that basing a 737-800 at Liverpool will allow us to strengthen our position as one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines.”
He added: “Thanks to the close co-operation with Liverpool airport and Visit Liverpool, we look forward to investing significantly and helping to sustain the local economy, and subsequently increasing our presence at the airport with even more air links in the coming months.”
Airport chief executive Andrew Cornish added: “Since day one of Blue Air’s operations from Liverpool they have gone from strength to strength and this latest development is the natural next phase of their continued expansion.
“Blue Air are creating something special here. They very much want to be a part of the region’s renaissance by investing in an area where they see tremendous opportunities to successfully grow their business, at the same time as creating local employment and attracting inward investment.”
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