Business Irish

Friday 19 April 2019

Success of UK routes lifts Knock to passenger record

Joe Gilmore, managing director of Ireland West Airport, which handled 750,000 passengers last year, up 2pc on 2015
Joe Gilmore, managing director of Ireland West Airport, which handled 750,000 passengers last year, up 2pc on 2015
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ireland West Airport - commonly known as Knock Airport - handled a record 750,000 passengers last year, beating its previous record, set in 2016, when it handled 734,000.

The 2pc increase in passenger numbers last year at the airport came as it experienced an uplift in the amount of traffic to the UK.

Aer Lingus recorded the highest number of passengers using its Ireland West Airport-Gatwick service last year since it was launched in 2009.

Flybe, the UK regional carrier, also saw record passenger numbers on its services to Birmingham and Edinburgh from the Irish airport.

Services to mainland Europe saw more than 100,000 passengers use services to destinations including Lanzarote, Malaga, Tenerife and Alicante.

Last week, major European tour operator TUI said it was adding Majorca to its destinations from Knock for the coming summer.

Flybe is adding 16,000 seats on its services to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester in 2018, and Ryanair has increased capacity on its Milan service by 35pc, adding an additional 3,500 seats for summer 2018.

Ireland West Airport managing director Joe Gilmore welcomed the latest passenger statistics.

Mr Gilmore insisted the numbers were good news for the regional economy, for tourism, and job creation.

Last year saw the airport start work on a €15m investment plan to upgrade its facilities over the next three years.

That will see new passenger facilities, terminal upgrades and other infrastructure works undertaken, including work on the airport's runway.

By the end of the first quarter of this year, almost €4m worth of major infrastructure upgrades will have been completed.

Last month, Ireland West Airport was awarded Exchequer funding of just under €1.9m under the so-called public policy operational expenditure subvention scheme.

That scheme provides Exchequer funding to contribute towards costs associated with the upgrade and maintenance of air traffic control facilities, as well as fire and safety and security functions at the airport.

Irish Independent

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