Ireland West Airport saw a record 807,000 passengers pass through its gates in 2019
Ireland West Airport had a record year in 2019 as passenger numbers rose 5pc to 807,000. It marked the fourth consecutive year of passenger growth at the airport near Knock in Co Mayo.
Ryanair accounted for the bulk of the airport's passengers, flying 622,000 people in and out of the gateway last year. That was also a record for the carrier at the airport.
But the airport, which now serves 23 destinations, is also served by carriers including Aer Lingus and Flybe. From March, Ryanair subsidiary Lauda, which is based in Vienna, will operate a new service from Ireland West to Palma Majorca in Spain.
New services from Ryanair last year helped to lift passenger numbers between Ireland West and continental Europe by 20pc. The carrier launched a service to Cologne last year, while boosting capacity on a route to Barcelona.
Passenger numbers to and from the UK at the airport edged 2pc higher in 2019.
Ireland West chairman Arthur French said the growth in passenger numbers last year was "good news" for tourism and job creation.
"As we look ahead to 2020, the year will present many challenges due to ongoing uncertainty in the aviation industry and in particular due to Brexit and the continued grounding of the 737 Max aircraft," he said.
"We will continue to work with our stakeholders and airline partners over the next 18 months as we strive to develop new and existing access and continue our airport transformation programme."
Last year, Ireland West completed the rehabilitation of its 2,400-metre runway - the first time in its 34-year history that the runway had a full overlay completed. That project is one of a number of infrastructural works at the airport, and cost €11.2m. It was 75pc-funded by the State.
In December, it was announced by the government that Ireland West Airport had been awarded a €1.7m grant.
That funding was part of a €3.7m grant package awarded to airports including Ireland West, Kerry and Donegal under the Regional Airports Programme. The scheme supports safety and security investments at the airports.