Aer Lingus has announced an expansion of its transatlantic routes, which will result in the creation of 200 new jobs.

The airline said it is launching a year-round route between Dublin and San Francisco from next April, with five flights a week.

Aer Lingus also said it will start a new service from Dublin to Toronto from next April.

A daily service will operate between the two cities during the summer season, with up to four weekly services during the winter.

The airline already operates services from Dublin to New York, Boston, Chicago and Orlando in the US.

It said today that two planes will be based in Shannon and will be used for increasing frequency on existing routes to New York and Boston, while all year round connections from Shannon to the east coast will be introduced.

To support the expansion, Aer Lingus said it will wet lease three Boeing 757 planes from ASL Aviation Group.

''This expansion is extremely positive news for Aer Lingus and for the broader economy in terms of business, tourism and employment,'' commented Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller.

Mr Mueller said the airline's transatlantic capacity will increase by 24% in 2014, after 13% additional capacity in its transatlantic schedule this year.

''Our operation of the San Francisco route will strengthen Ireland’s ties with Silicon Valley and encourage Ireland’s development as a technology hub for Europe. San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s largest technology companies and several of these companies have European headquarters in Dublin,'' he added.

Commenting on the expansion, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that the return of the direct air service to the US west coast is particularly important. ''I'm very happy to see the route being filled by an Irish airline,'' the Minister added.

IDA Ireland also welcomed news of the new San Francisco service. ''When companies make decisions to locate operations in foreign countries, direct air access from their headquarters is a very important factor,'' IDA's chief executive Barry O'Leary said.

He pointed out that Google, Facebook and many other IDA Ireland clients have their international headquarters located in the San Francisco area. ''The direct flight by Aer Lingus from Dublin to San Francisco will add to Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to locate business,'' he said.

“Approximately 40% of the foreign direct investment to Ireland from the US comes from the Silicon Valley area. This route will strengthen the links between Silicon Valley and Ireland’s own cluster of tech companies in Dublin,'' Mr O'Leary added.