Ireland West Airport recorded a 10% increase in passenger numbers during the summer period, with over 360,000 passengers using the airport between June and October. The airport is on track to record the busiest year in the airport’s 30-year history, with annual passenger numbers set to exceed 720,000 for the first time in 2016.
Passenger numbers using the airport’s nine UK services increased by 14%, thanks mainly to new year-round services added by Flybe to Birmingham and Edinburgh, which added an additional 25,000 passengers through the airport during the summer months. The airport now has the biggest selection of UK services from the West and North West of Ireland, with access to nine UK markets including direct flights to Birmingham, Bristol, London (Gatwick, Luton and Stansted), East Midlands, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester.
Services to and from European sun and city break destinations continued to increase, with the airport now offering flights to 10 different destinations including Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Spain. A new service introduced by Falcon and Thomson Holidays to Salou in June proved particularly popular with holidaymakers from across the region.
The airport now serves 22 international destinations and is served by three of Europe’s major international airlines: Aer Lingus, Flybe and Ryanair.
Events and Investment
This year has been a particularly busy one for events as the airport celebrated the 30th anniversary of its official opening back in May. Notable milestones this year also included the airport welcoming its 10 millionth passenger, holding the first ever runway run for the public, and welcoming a special visit from the Vice President of the USA. All these special events were filmed and form part of a six-part series called ‘The Airport Up in Knock’, currently being aired on UTV Ireland every Monday night at 8pm.
In addition in summer 2016 the airport welcomed an investment by seven local authorities for an equity shareholding into the airport that has seen the formation of a unique and positive collaboration with local government in the areas of tourism, economic development and diaspora engagement.
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, said: “These latest passenger figures are a direct result of the growth in passenger services offering an increased selection of routes to and from the West of Ireland. This growth benefits the local economies in both the West and North West regions particularly, given the choice and range of flights to the UK, which is a key driver for inbound tourism.”