Ryanair said it enjoyed 'strong Christmas/New Year traffic'
A Ryanair aircraft AFP News

In what is great news for UK holidaymakers, budget airline Ryanair is set to start new routes for this year's winter holiday season.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ryanair on Thursday announced 200 weekly flights and 17 new routes to and from Albania through Tirana International Airport. Later this year, the Irish carrier is planning to fly four times a week from Edinburgh Airport to Tirana as part of a major programme of new services to the Balkan nation for winter 2023.

This programme includes Edinburgh, London Stansted and Manchester routes for UK travellers to Tirana International Airport.

Ryanair's 17 new routes

Albania will become the 37th country within Ryanair's network as the budget airline continues with its progress strategy with an aim of flying 300 million passengers by 2034.

In a recent interview, Ryanair DAC's chief executive, Eddie Wilson opened up about the airline's upcoming new winter routes, saying they were delighted about the new programme.

"These initial 17 new routes will grant immediate access to key inbound tourism markets such as Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the UK whilst also providing competitive fares and increased connectivity for Albanians who want to visit home, or friends and family abroad.

"We have worked closely with our partners here at Tirana airport to launch these 17 new routes and hope to strengthen the relationship over time as we work together to drive inbound tourism and connectivity to Albania," said Wilson in the same interview.

Adding further, Wilson said that the new routes will allow travellers from major cities across Europe to experience "the wonders of Albania, from the white sand beaches of the Albania Riviera to the historical architecture of Unesco site Gjirokastër, and lively nightlife in Tirana."

As a part of the winter 2023 schedule, Ryanair earlier unveiled a new connection from Edinburgh and France. It made a big announcement about operating more than 3,000 daily flights to and from 21 UK airports this winter. It will open 21 new routes to destinations such as Stansted to Lapland, Finland; Liverpool to Rome, Italy; Birmingham to Stockholm, Sweden; and Edinburgh to Grenoble, France.

Ryanair forced to cancel 400 flights

Meanwhile, Ryanair suffered a setback earlier this week when they were forced to cancel 400 flights with passengers being left stranded across Europe amid a French strike.

Passengers reportedly claimed they were left waiting for hours at airports, including Paris and Malaga, without being offered a hot meal, and were given only crisps and fizzy drinks. The travellers had to face the inconvenience because of an air traffic (ATC) control strike on overflights in French air space.

It was earlier reported that another budget carrier, easyJet, had also planned to start new routes for the upcoming winter. The London-based airlines unveiled a total of nine new routes from the UK to various destinations, including France, Morocco, Tunisia, and an exciting new Icelandic connection: Akureyri (AEY).

In partnership with its tour subsidiary, easyJet Holidays, easyJet is set to offer a package for UK travellers to have a beautiful experience across North Iceland. Direct flights will be available from easyJet's base at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) twice a week, launching on Oct. 31.

The other routes that easyJet is set to begin later this year include connections from Birmingham to the French cities of Lyon and Paris from Oct. 30. EasyJet is also gearing up to introduce new services between London Luton and Enfidha, Tunisia and from Bristol to Marrakech, Morocco.

The UK carrier also has plans for an additional route from London Southend to Paris Charles de Gaulle. A new weekly service from Manchester to Grenoble is also set to begin, which will likely appeal to ski enthusiasts looking for a short break on the slopes.