SOUTH Essex residents can now enjoy sun-drenched holidays all year round as Southend Airport adds Mediterranean favourite Malta to its growing list of destinations.

Tickets for the new Easyjet route go on sale today, with flights starting on Sunday, October 29. Passengers can fly there twice a week, in summer and winter.

Sophie Dekkers, Easyjet’s director of the UK market, said: “We’re delighted to announce another new route from London Southend Airport.

“Year-round flights to Malta provide our passengers from across the region with another holiday destination to choose from and we are sure it will be very popular.

“We’re seeing more and more people using our services from London Southend for both leisure and business trips and we’re keen to continue adding more varied routes to our schedule.”

Flights to Budapest, Lyon, Milan Malpensa, Prague, Rennes and Vienna have proved hugely popular since taking off in May.

Earlier this month new routes from Southend Airport to Dublin, Glasgow and Manchester were announced through Stobart Air’s franchise partnership with Flybe.

Glyn Jones, chief executive of Southend Airport, said “I am sure Malta will prove to be yet another hugely popular destination to passengers from Essex and the South East.

“Thanks to our partnership with Easyjet, and other airlines, we now have a fantastic mix of around 30 leisure and business destinations for people to explore.”

The Echo told yesterday how Mr Jones has ambitious plans to continue expanding the airport. He hopes to welcome 2.5million passengers through its terminal in 2018 - triple the amount of people who used the airport last year.

Malta is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy. It gets more than 300 sunny days a year and is surrounded by clear blue waters, making it popular with tourists.

Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, welcomed the new route.

She said: “It’s fantastic news. Malta is very popular. People like it because it is English speaking and they drive on the same side of the road.

“I know people who go there year after years because they like it so much.”

Mrs Holland added: “It is another great option for Southend residents. The more options there are, the more people will use Southend Airport and find out how great it is.”