Knock Airport predicts busiest year ever
Knock Airport is predicting that 2014 will be its busiest ever year with passenger numbers expected to exceed 700,000 for the first time.
Last year, the number hit 665,000, the second-highest figure since the airport opened in 1986.
The airport, formerly known as Ireland West Airport, Knock, said the government-sponsored Gathering event in 2013 had provided a "major boost" for its operations, particularly from key markets in the UK, Italy and Germany.
There was a 7pc increase in the number of passengers using London services to and from Knock last year and a 23pc rise in the numbers flying from Italy on Ryanair's service from Milan. Knock also reported a 28pc increase in traffic on the Lufthansa service that operates betweent o Dusseldorf.
A number of new services were announced last year by Knock. Routes to destinations including Eindhoven in Holland, Glasgow, and Kaunas in Lithuania will be launched this year by Ryanair. Lufthansa's low-cost operator Germanwings is starting a service to Knock from Cologne-Bonn in May.
In an interview last month with the Irish Independent, the managing director of Knock Airport, Joe Gilmore, said that the airport was aiming to secure the reintroduction of transatlantic flights by 2016 as part of its new 10-year strategy.
Knock Airport is also seeking €36m, which will help it address debt levels and increase passengers to 1.3 million a year.