Ryanair is to launch flights from London Stansted to Athens on April 1 after announcing its decision to open a new base in the Greek capital as well as an additional base in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.
As part of a $280 million investment in Greece, the low-cost airline will base two aircraft in Athens and one in Thessaloniki from April. As a result, the airline will increase the frequency of its existing service from Stansted to Thessaloniki to daily.
From Athens it will fly to Milan and the Greek destinations of Chania, Paphos, Rhodes and Thessaloniki as well as to London.
From Thessaloniki it will fly to Athens, Pisa and Warsaw.
The routes all go on sale tomorrow.
The airline said it would carry over 1.2 million passengers at Athens, from where it will offer 154 weekly flights, and over 1.6 million a year at Thessaloniki, from where it will have 212 weekly flights.
Ryanair's director of commercial David O'Brien said the new routes would provide passengers with an alternative to Aegean/Olympic. "Only Ryanair, with its 175 new aircraft order, can deliver the capacity, new markets and low costs demanded by Greek consumers and visitors, and looks forward to working with Athens Airport to unlock the vast potential currently suppressed by high access air costs," he said.
However, it will also be competing against easyJet which already operates low-cost flights to Athens from Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh. Aegean and British Airways have flights from Heathrow.