PASSENGER numbers travelling through Ireland West Airport Knock have grown by almost 40 percent over the last decade, with the airport recording another record number of passengers in 2019.
For the fourth consecutive year, record numbers have passed through the airport with passenger numbers climbing by 5 percent to 807,000 in 2019, surpassing the previous record of 772,000 passengers in 2018.
The growth of the airport in the last decade was highlighted by Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock, Arthur French, who said the continued growth is fantastic news for the regional economy.
“We are delighted to have had a record year with passenger numbers reaching 807,000 for the first time in the airports history which is also good news for tourism, and job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy. This is the fourth successive year of growth at the airport and a decade which has seen the airport increase passenger numbers by 37 percent, from 589,000 passengers in 2010 to a record high of 807,000 passengers, in 2019,” he explained.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty over the Brexit situation, the growth in passenger numbers in 2019 was further fuelled by a very strong performance across the range of UK services available at the airport, with numbers travelling to and from the UK increasing by 2 percent in 2019.
In addition Ryanair recorded its busiest ever year for passenger numbers at Knock carrying a total of 622,000 passengers last year.
The airport now services 23 International destinations and is served by four of Europe’s major International airlines, Aer Lingus, Flybe, Lauda and Ryanair. The airport will add a new route in 2020 when Lauda an Austrian-based airline, owned by Ryanair will launch a new service to Palma Majorca from Knock on March 31 - their first ever service from a regional airport in Ireland.
The number of passengers traveling on services to mainland and Continental Europe hit a new high for the airport, increasing by 20 percent with the addition of a new service to Cologne by Ryanair and additional capacity on Ryanair’s Barcelona service helping boost the numbers travelling in 2019.
“I would like to thank our customers, airline and tour operator partners, stakeholders, tourism groups, local authorities and Government representatives for their ongoing support in helping us to continue to grow passenger numbers and develop international connectivity for the region,” said Mr French.
“I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the staff at the airport for their hard work and continued focus on ensuring the customer and passenger experience through the airport is both a safe and welcoming one.”
The airport has also undergone redevelopment in the last 12 months with a number of infrastructural projects including the rehabilitation of the airport’s 2,400 metre runway between May and September. The runway opened in 1985 and this is the first time in its 34-year history that the runway has had a full overlay.
The work included a complete resurfacing of the existing runway and taxiway surfaces, the removal and reinstatement of runway edge, centre line, and touch down zone lighting, ducting and other associated works.
A 2019 Ernst and Young Study highlighted that Ireland West Airport and its passengers generate significant economic impacts for the Northern and Western region with tourism spending by its passengers generating €217 million and supporting 3,177 jobs in the wider region.
Mr French said he was looking forward to a successful 2020 at the airport despite all the global challenges surrounding the aviation industry.
“As we look ahead to 2020 the year ahead 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. 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.”