Ryanair in talks over routes to Egypt, Israel and Tunisia

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Ryanair is looking to open routes to new destinations in Egypt, Tunisia and Israel, says deputy director of route development and head of scheduling Niall O'Connor.

Speaking at the French Connect 2013 conference in Bordeaux, O'Connor said: "We're talking to the Tunisian government, we're talking to the Israeli government, none of which have open skies at the minute." He adds that the Irish budget carrier is also looking at opening services to Egypt, where rival EasyJet has three destinations.

O'Connor says that Ryanair's positive experiences in Morocco - where it opened its first two non-European bases earlier this year, in Fez and Marrakech - "shows a very positive sign for what's possible for markets like these".

While he says Ryanair is always keen to develop new markets, "at the minute, regulatory restraints dictate how far we can go". But he adds: "There's not many places we won't look."

Ryanair "generally tries to engage with any market where there's potential for growth", says O'Connor. However, the progress of talks with Russia - limited by the lack of an open-skies agreement - is "slow at the minute".