Ryanair used the announcement of its return to Aberdeen to highlight the “barrier” to tourism created by Air Passenger Duty 

Alicante and Malaga will be served from in February 2017 in a move which is expected to generate 50,000 passengers a year at the airport.

The low-cost carrier last operated a service from Aberdeen in 2011, with flights to Dublin.

Flights to the two Spanish destinations will run twice weekly, year-round.

A Ryanair spokesman said: “We look forward to working closely with the team at Aberdeen airport to deliver more routes, traffic and growth in the future.

“While these routes are ideal for holidaymakers, APD remains a continuing barrier to inbound tourism and the development of business routes in Scotland.

“One need only look at the example of Ireland which saw its annual traffic fall by 7 million following the introduction of APD in 2009, only to dramatically rise following its removal in 2014.

“Ryanair has already confirmed to the Scottish government the growth opportunities possible if APD is removed in its entirety.”

Aberdeen airport managing director, Carol Benzie, said: “This is fantastic news from Ryanair and it clearly demonstrates the opportunity that exists for leisure capacity here in Aberdeen.

“Earlier this year we undertook a leisure survey in which we asked our local community which destinations they would like to see introduced from their local airport.

“Our route development team took the survey results to the recent Routes Europe conference in Krakow and Ryanair has responded to this data by introducing services to two of the most requested routes, Alicante and Malaga.”