Aer Lingus has added six new routes and increased frequencies for its Winter 2012 schedule.

The new routes are Dublin to Verona and Stockholm and Cork to Brussels. These are set to continue right throughout the winter, owing to their continued popularity.

Other destinations on offer include Copenhagen, Bordeaux and Venice.

The airline will also increase frequencies on eight routes including Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam. There will also be extra flights to Lanzarote and Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

'Today's announcement supports Aer Lingus' strategy to provide greater access and choice for Irish customers with over 1,100 flights a week to and from Ireland. In addition, our continued focus is to support the growth of inbound business and tourism links,'' commented the airline's director of communications, Declan Kearney.

Earlier, the airline said its passenger numbers - including its regional operations - increased by 4.8% in June. It said its total flown passenger numbers rose by 2% to 918,000. Short haul passenger numbers inched 0.1% higher to 819,000 while long haul passengers increased by 12.5% to 99,000.

Aer Lingus said its load factor - how many seats it fills on each flight - increased by 3.8 percentage points to 82.6% in June compared to the same time last year. It said its short haul load factor was 78.1%, up 1.4 percentage points, while its long haul load factor rose by nine percentage points to 92.4%.