Ryanair has announced this afternoon that they will be flying twice a week from Edinburgh to Palma during the winter months (October to March).

After years of having been shut off from the Balearics during the winter, people living in Scotland are going to be able to enjoy regular direct flights to Palma next winter. Over the past few years, the Majorca Daily Bulletin, on behalf of tens of thousands of readers here in the Balearics and in the UK, has been campaigning for more winter flights, not just from Scotland but the UK in general. And now, Ryanair has come to Scotland’s rescue.

The airline has announced that it has added six new routes from Edinburgh, four from Glasgow and three from Prestwick to its winter 2016 schedule, and one of those is Palma.

The airline will launch new twice weekly services from Edinburgh to Bologna, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Gran Canaria, Palma, Majorca and Poznan in its winter 2016 schedule. Ryanair will also increase the frequency of flights to Alicante, Malaga and Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome and Tenerife.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: "We are pleased to launch our Edinburgh winter 2016 schedule, which includes six new winter services to Bologna, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Gran Canaria, Palma and Poznan, and more flights on six other routes, which will deliver 2.5 million customers per annum and support 1,900 jobs, as we grow our Edinburgh traffic by 20 per cent."

Ryanair is also adding four new services from Glasgow Airport to its winter schedule to Alicante and Malaga and Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. The budget airline is also launching three new services from Glasgow Prestwick - where it is currently the only carrier - to Barcelona and Madrid and Faro. Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said the new routes would "deliver over 1.8 million customers per annum and support 1,400 jobs at Glasgow and Prestwick airports".

Many years ago, when there were winter flights between Scotland and Majorca, Calvia Council used to organise a host of events for winter visitors, in particular golf. The Balearic Golf Federation has been one of many sectors which has complained about the damage done to its business by the lack of winter flights: now they can look forward to all-year activity. It also opens up a whole new list of options for hoteliers, resorts and resort businesses and complementary tourism sector as a whole: not to mention the real estate market.

The decision has come as a surprise because earlier this winter Ryanair threw the gauntlet down to the airport authority Aena and a number of airports, including Palma’s Son Sant Joan, promising to bring at least 1.5 million visitors every winter provided airport operating fees were dropped. Aena refused. However, it doesn't appear to have put Ryanair off and other airlines may follow.

Ryanair sources in Ireland confirmed to the Bulletin today that the winter programme will run from October to March, so that means that Scotland will have year-round connections to Majorca.