Ryanair has announced it will open nine new routes from Dublin, which it said will deliver an extra 700,000 passengers a year and support 700 new onsite jobs.

The new routes are to Almeria, Bari, Basel, Bucharest, Chania, Comiso, Lisbon, Marrakesh and Prague. They bring the airline's total routes from Dublin to 85 and will start from next April. 

Ryanair will also increase capacity and frequency on key routes from the UK and some European destinations.

The airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary said the new routes and extra capacity are the final part of its growth plans for the main Irish airports as a direct result of the Government's decision to scrap the €3 travel tax from April 2014.

"A critical component of this growth will be 100 extra weekly flights into Dublin from Britain, which will reverse the recent tourism declines in UK visitors coming to Ireland," Mr O'Leary said.

Ryanair also said today that it will create over 300 new direct jobs in Ireland in 2014, for pilots, cabin crew, customer service specialists and software developers as the airline rolls out its programme of customer service and website improvements. 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the expansion offered a real opportunity for everyone in the hospitality industry.

"If people want to have their hotels and guesthouses filled, if they want their golf course used, there's an opportunity here to really make all of these new passengers to Ireland feel welcome," he said.

The chief executive of the Dublin Airport Authority, Kevin Toland also welcomed today's announcement.

"This year represents the third successive year of growth at Dublin Airport on both short and long-haul services, which is very positive for tourism and the overall economy," he said.

"Today's announcement provides a strong platform for continuation of this trend."  

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, said he was delighted the company had responded in such a positive way to the abolition of the air travel tax.