AN airline has launched new flights from the North-East – and vowed more services will follow in the coming months.

Ryanair will fly to Lanzarote and Tenerife from Newcastle Airport this winter.

The twice-weekly operations will be complemented by a new service to Malaga, which will run four times a week, and increased flights to Alicante.

The Irish carrier will also turn its existing Dublin trip into a twice-a-day package.

Bosses say the move will help more than double the company’s passenger numbers at the airport from 160,000 to 330,000 and support 250 jobs.

However, Robin Kiely, Ryanair’s head of communications, told The Northern Echo it is talking to airport officials about bringing more services to the region, which could include a raft of city breaks.

Referring to its winter schedule, he said: “We are going to double traffic at Newcastle and have more routes planned.

“I see no reason why we can’t continue growing here, the potential is huge.

“Newcastle is very important for us and is important now that the city sells itself and the tourism board does more to get people to want to come here.

“We’re also very happy to make Dublin double daily; it will be ideal for business passengers.

“This is the start of a bright future for us here.”

Ryanair already offers flights to Dublin, Alicante and Malaga from Newcastle, with its website now offering seat prices for the coming months.

However, its new winter 2016 schedule will build on that, making its Alicante service a four times a week journey, which will help push the airline’s overall total weekly flights from the region at the back end of the year to 26.

David Laws, Newcastle Airport chief executive, said the agreement, which he hinted at in an exclusive interview with The Northern Echo late last year, represents another boost for the site, which is growing in stature after having previously secured direct New York flights with United Airlines.

The base also works with Emirates on a Dubai service and recently welcomed Spanish operator Vueling, which will take holidaymakers from the region to Barcelona.

However, Mr Laws said, as with its other commitments, that passengers must now show their support and fill Ryanair’s planes to make the venture a success.

He added: “We are delighted with this announcement and have worked closely with Ryanair to get into a position to make it happen.

“This is all about a new dimension of travel and encouraging people to look at their local airport.

“We now need to show commitment to what Ryanair are doing and for passengers to put themselves on their aircraft.

“We are also a long-term partner with Ryanair in Dublin and look forward to welcoming even more passengers from Ireland to the North-East.”