Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced 26 new routes from Budapest Friday in a move to capitalise on the grounding of Hungarian airline Malev over unpaid debts.

Hungarian flag-carrier Malev ceased operating early Friday, ending 66 years of almost continuous service, after its planes were held overseas for unpaid debts.

Ryanair, which in January announced plans to fly five routes from Budapest, has increased that to 31, most of which will be operating by April, the company said in a statement.

It said it will base four aircraft at Budapest and carry up to 2 million passengers per year.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Andrew Callus)