New flights between Manchester airport and Riga are to be launched next summer.

The Latvian capital will be served by Air Baltic with four flights a week in competition with incumbent carrier Ryanair on the route.

The Latvian airline already serves more than 70 European destinations from its Riga hub.

The Manchester service starts on March 29, 2020 with fares leading in at £69 return, providing connections from Riga to Scandinavia, Russia, the Middle East and Europe.

The airline also serves Riga and Tallinn in Estonia from London and runs summer flights to the Latvian capital from Aberdeen.

Almost one-fifth of all passengers travelling to and from the UK use Riga as a transfer airport. Most popular connection destinations include the Baltic capitals of Tallinn and Vilnius, the Nordic cities Helsinki and Turku, also Moscow and St.Petersburg, Tbilisi, and Odessa.

The airline’s CEO Martin Gauss: “Riga is a dynamic city and a key business centre of the Baltic states and has a lot to offer to both business and leisure travellers. It is also a very convenient transfer point with excellent connections within our wide route network.

“Our passengers will be able to travel to both cities for very attractive prices in the economy or our full-service business class on the new and comfortable Airbus A220-300 aircraft.”

Manchester airport commercial director Stephen Turner added: “It’s great to see Air Baltic come to Manchester Airport with flights to Riga. It is already a very popular destination, so it is great to see the Latvian flag carrier come onto the route too, giving additional choice and flexibility for the 22 million people in our vast catchment area.

“The Air Baltic route will not only enable to enjoy the delights Riga has to offer but also massively open up eastern Europe and Russia to our passengers, which will benefit business and leisure travellers alike.”