Ryanair has confirmed it is to open a new base at Frankfurt Main airport and will start four routes to leisure destinations from the German airport next summer.

The announcement further underlines the Irish carrier's move into more primary airports over recent years and Frankfurt Main - Europe's fourth biggest airport by passenger number in 2015 - will be the largest airport Ryanair serves.

Ryanair will operate services to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma and base two aircraft at Frankfurt from March 2017. All four routes will be operated on a daily basis.

Ryanair estimates it will carry 400,000 passengers per year on the new services.

Fraport chief executive, Stefan Schulte said that the move “underscores the increasing importance of Frankfurt for low-cost traffic”.

The Irish carrier’s services to the German city have long operated to Frankfurt Hahn airport - it became the Irish carrier's second mainland Europe base in 2002. FlightGlobal schedules shows that Ryanair already operates services to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma from its Hahn base.

The data shows that with the exception of Alicante, the other three routes are already operated by other carriers from Frankfurt. Lufthansa operates a service to Malaga, flights to Palma are operated by Lufthansa, TUIfly and Air Berlin. Faro flights are offered by TUIfly and Lufthansa.

Source: Cirium Dashboard