Sunday 30 April 2017

Knock Airport profits soar as passenger numbers hit record during its 30th year

Ireland West Airport managing director Joe Gilmore has paid tribute to Knock’s record-breaking performance in 2016
Ireland West Airport managing director Joe Gilmore has paid tribute to Knock’s record-breaking performance in 2016

Gordon Deegan

Profits at the company that operates Knock Ireland West Airport increased ninefold in 2015 to €112,206.

Airport operator, Connaught Airport Development enjoyed the sharp rise in profits in spite of revenues at the firm reducing by 12pc from €14m in 2014 to €12.3m in 2015.

The profit of €112,206 followed a modest profit of €12,441 recorded in 2014.

A spokesman for Knock Ireland West Airport said yesterday that the drop in revenues arose from a reduction in fuel prices and fuel sales.

He said that margins improved from 56pc to 63pc on revenues during the period.

He said that the 2015 profit included a State Public Policy Remit (PPR-O) operational funding of €598,000 and would have recorded a net loss of €486,000 only for that payment.

The spokesman said that 2015 was the first year of the new regional airport's Public Policy Remit (PPR-O) operational funding scheme 2015-2019 which partly reimbursed the airport costs expensed in relation to fire, security and ATC costs.

He said that the airport achieved a 7pc increase in passenger numbers during 2016 to a record-breaking 734,000 using the facility.

"New services commenced to Birmingham and Edinburgh with Flybe and also a season summer charter service to Costa Dorada with Falcon Holidays." he said.

"The airport also welcomed the first ever charter from Boston with Aer Lingus in 2016. This passenger increase and further improvement in the commercial areas is expected to result in an improved financial position."

On the prospects for 2017, he added: "The airport expects to achieve further passenger growth during 2017 from its main markets of the UK and Europe.

"It is focused on expanding its route network following the investment by seven local authorities and working closely with the main tourism agencies to promote the West and North West of Ireland overseas."

The profit in 2015 reduced the accumulated losses at Connaught Airport Development reducing from €1.66m to €1.54m.

The company's shareholder funds at the end of December 2015 stood at €2.3m after taking into account 'other reserves' of €3.86m.

The company's cash pile during the year increased from €1.08m to €1.49m

Numbers employed by the company in 2015 increased marginally by one from 115 to 116 made up of 75 in operations; 25 in retail and catering and 15 in administration and marketing.

Staff costs for the year increased from €4.84m to €4.99m. Directors' remuneration totalled €174,705, including pension payments of €12,462.

The firm's loans reduced from €8.8m to €8.17m.

The value of the company's assets reduced from €29.96m to €29m.

Last year proved to be an eventful one as the airport celebrated a number of milestones, including celebrating the 30th anniversary of the official opening of the airport in May, and a special visit by then US Vice President Joe Biden as he traced his Irish roots the following month.

Commenting on the 2016 performance, Ireland West Airport managing director Joe Gilmore said: "We are delighted to have had a record year in 2016, with passenger numbers exceeding 730,000 for the first time in the airport's history which is good news for the regional economy, for tourism, and for job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy. It was a memorable year ... and having a record year in the year of our 30th anniversary was a fitting end to it."

In addition, last year the airport welcomed an investment by seven local authorities for an equity shareholding.

Irish Independent

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