Ryanair will base two aircraft at Leeds Bradford from March 2010, operating 63 flights a week and adding 14 destinations to the services it currently offers to Alicante, Barcelona and Dublin.

The new routes include Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Malta, Murcia, Palma, Pisa, Venice Treviso and Cracow. Leeds Bradford will be Ryanair’s 11th base in the UK.

Ryanair aims to catch a large slice of the estimated three million passengers a year who travel from Yorkshire to Manchester Airport for short-haul flights, after cutting routes and capacity at other UK airports.

The airport plans a £28-million new terminal building as part of an £80 million investment by private-equity owner Bridgepoint Capital. However, passenger numbers this year are forecast to be 7% down on the 2.8 million who flew through Leeds last year.