RYANAIR is “very happy” with how its busiest ever summer at Bournemouth Airport is going, with around 500,000 passengers expected through the terminal.

The budget airline recently announced its latest route from the Hurn site, a twice-weekly service to Venice operating all year from December 22.

Dara Brady, Ryanair’s director of marketing and digital, said: “We’ve had a good summer. We’re very happy with how we’re going from Bournemouth.

“We have over 33 destinations and this summer is our largest ever. We’ll probably be operating over half a million passengers in terms of seats in and out.”

The airline has one aircraft based at the airport, representing a 100million euro (£83.4m) investment, he said. The airline has had a presence at Bournemouth Airport since 2008. “We know the guys very well and we’ve worked with them for a long time,” said Mr Brady.

“It’s a relatively small and regional airport and they’ve been able to deal with everybody more quickly than many of the busier airports.

“We’re very happy with Bournemouth. Feedback from our customers has been that the airport experience has gone very well in terms of security, waiting times and getting through the airport quickly. The airport has been running very efficiently.”

He said bookings on Ryanair generally were at 115 per cent of levels immediately before the pandemic in 2019. “Every other airline is running at 85-90 per cent,” he added.

“One of the reasons for that is during the pandemic we worked very hard to keep all our crew and staff and pilots,” he said.

“It meant we were in a much better shape for the recovery which we always expected. We always said we were expecting strong demand post-pandemic.

“There’s been very strong demand through the summer period and Ryanair was best placed in terms of this recovery.”

The airline had been one of the most reliable in the industry, he said. 

He is expecting trade to remain good even in the face of fears about the cost of living. 

“When we see a recession coming on, with high inflation and the cost of living spiralling, it’s generally good news for Ryanair. People have a tendency to head for the cheaper fares and we’ve got the lowest fares,” he said.

“We see people migrate down somewhat and our business is typically strong in recession “I would say our message has been for the summer generally, if you want to get the low fares, you need to book early.”

Ryanair will be flying from Bournemouth to 11 destinations, including Venice, this winter.

“I think the Venice route will go very well. It’s a great place to visit and we’re fully expecting it to go well. Bookings already have been very strong,” Mr Brady said.