Last year was Ireland West Airport Knock’s busiest year in its 26-year history.
In 2012, the number of passengers using Ireland West Knock increased by over 30,000 to 685,000, an increase of five per cent on 2011. The airport now serves over 25 international destinations and is served by five of Europe’s biggest airlines.
In 2012, Ireland West Airport Knock opened up access to seven new European markets with international airlines Lufthansa, Ryanair, Flybe, Aer Lingus Regional and Irish tour operator Sunway.
Highlights included the commencement of the only direct services from mainland Europe to the West of Ireland from Dusseldorf, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt, and Barcelona, which brought over 13,000 new tourists to the West of Ireland, generating an estimated spend in the local economy of in the region of €7 million.
Other highlights included the airport passing 29 major audits in safety, security and regulatory departments in 2012 and achieving ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation for the provision of a quality management system in the air traffic control department.
Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, also commenced new services from Germany in 2012, their only scheduled services to any airport in Ireland outside Dublin.
Operational delays at the airport reduced to between zero and two per cent in 2012 and a recent independent study by Ernst and Young Economic Consultants stated that the airport supports a total of 914 jobs in the region with an overall economic contribution of €143 million annually.
The airport predicts that the current economic conditions will continue to influence travel patterns in 2013 but already there has been positive new route announcements in the past couple of weeks, with the news that Ryanair will commence a new weekly service to Malaga, which starts in April. This is Ryanair’s sixth sun destination from Ireland West Airport Knock along with services to Alicante, Faro-Algarve, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.
Sunway also recently confirmed that a new weekly service to Palma Majorca will start in June. This is the second service Sunway will operate from Ireland West Airport Knock along with their weekly programme to Lanzarote.
Commenting on the 2012 performance, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director at Ireland West Airport Knock said the team is delighted to have had a record year despite the very difficult environment in the aviation industry.
“Whilst 2012 was our busiest year ever, without doubt, 2013 will be a challenge for everyone in the region. More than ever, the airport needs the support of the people in this region and, in particular, engagement at a strategic level with Government representatives at all levels to ensure that future Government Aviation Policy enables this airport to continue to grow and develop essential international connectivity that will lead to more jobs and prosperity for the people of the West and North West of Ireland,” said Mr Gilmore.