BOURNEMOUTH Airport will become a winter base for Ryanair, with four extra routes added to this year’s schedule.

The low cost airline made the announcement today, also marking 20 years since they began operations at the airport.

The extra routes include Faro, Gran Canaria and Malta, with a new route to Kraków also included.

In total seven routes will run from October with Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife already on the schedule.

An aircraft will be based at Bournemouth all year round, with the airline hoping to carry 450,000 passengers, growing the traffic from Bournemouth by 19 per cent.

The news has been greeted with delight by airport bosses who have suffered a series of blows in recent months.

Last year, Flybe pulled out of the airport, just six months after relaunching flights, and Royal Mail revealed they would be pulling their business after 30 years.

Airport managing director, Paul Knight said: “This is great news for Bournemouth Airport, our customers and staff.

“We have built up a good working relationship with Ryanair over the past 20 years and we are delighted to see that they are marking this anniversary by extending their winter programme and adding a new route to Krakow.

“This means there will soon be even more destinations people can travel to from our airport and more people from across Europe will be visiting our great area.”

He added: “We have a very loyal customer base and they have been waiting for growth and new routes.

“I think it’s the start of a revival for us.”

Ryanair’s director of route development, Kate Sherry said last summer had been a successful season at Bournemouth for the airline.

“As long as there is the demand, we will be here. These routes are always so popular, especially in the summer and we think these destinations will continue to be successful through winter as well”, she said.

“We hope the Krakow route will serve the Polish community in Bournemouth and Southampton, but it is also a lovely break for a weekend for people.

“We know we have a loyal customer base here and new flights mean we can hopefully attract new customers as well.”

Flights to Kraków, Malta and Faro will be twice weekly, with Gran Canaria once a week.

Malaga and Alicante will also operate twice weekly with Tenerife once a week.