Ryanair has announced seven new routes from Dublin and extra flights on existing routes from the city as part of its winter schedule.

The new routes include Basel, Bucharest, Cologne, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Nice and Prague. The airline said the expansion at Dublin is a result of the Government's decision to scrap the travel tax from April 1.

Ryanair said today that it hopes to announce two routes to Russia.

Its chief marketing office Kenny Jacobs said that the situation in the Ukraine is not having an impact on their plans, adding that good negotiations with two airports in Moscow and St Petersburg are continuing.

He said one issue that needs to be sorted out first is visas. 

Meanwhile, Ryanair also said today it has received a BBB+ rating from Standard and Poor's which will assist it in sourcing low cost financing for its planned purchase of 175 Boeing aircraft. 

It said the rating reflects the "fundamental strength of Ryanair's business model which has delivered a track record of high levels of profitability, superior cash generation, and a very strong balance sheet with low levels of leverage".  

Ryanair has raised funds in the past through bonds backed by the US government-owned ExIm bank, but is preparing to tap markets directly for the first time to lower its cost of financing. 

A Ryanair spokesman declined to say when the company's first bond issue would take place. Deliveries of the airline's order of 175 Boeing 737s are due to begin later this year.

Ryanair also said it had completed a €70m share buyback, taking the total to €484m over the past 12 months and coming in ahead of its target of €400m.