THERE was more good news for Ireland West Airport Knock with the announcement that the fourth biggest airline in the world, Lufthansa, will commence new services to Germany starting in May 2012.
The announcement is seen as a major boost for the airport and Managing Director of IWAK, Mr Joe Gilmore said the service could facilitate the arrival of thousands of German tourists to to the region.
However, speaking to The Mayo News, Mr Gilmore admitted that the initial run of flights were to run on a trial basis to gauge the demand out there.
“We are initially dipping our toes in to the water so to speak. We will monitor initial demand and if there’s strong interest it could be the start of a much bigger programme from Germany.”
Starting on May 7, 2012, Lufthansa will operate direct flights to and from Dusseldorf every Saturday until September 29. Connecting services to the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich will also be available for booking as part of this new service.
“Germany has long been identified as a key strategic market for this airport but also for the island of Ireland from a tourism perspective and we are delighted that Lufthansa have chosen our airport to operate new services to and from Germany in 2012.
“This is a major vote of confidence for this airport and indeed the wider region. Over 200,000 Germans visit the West of Ireland every year and we are delighted to be able to now provide direct access from Germany to the west and north west of Ireland. We urge the trade and tourism partners in the region to get behind these new services and ensure their success in 2012, and we are confident that this will be the start of significant expansion by Lufthansa at this airport in the coming years”.
It is hoped that adventure tourism attractions such as the the Great Western Greenway will entice many German nationals to travel to the west of Ireland to partake in walking and cycling activities.
Commenting on the announcement, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar TD said: “I would like to congratulate the team at Ireland West Airport Knock for delivering this new route, which will benefit the whole region and has huge significance from a tourism point of view.”
“Germany is a key market for Irish tourism as German tourists tend to stay for an average of a week at a time and travel more widely. This is a great example of how close co-operation between the transport and tourism sectors can deliver a successful result.”
Lufthansa is the world’s fourth-largest airline, operating services to 203 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe. Together with its partners Lufthansa services around 410 destinations worldwide.
For further airport information log onto www.irelandwestairport.com; and for information on fares and to book flights log onto www.lufthansa.com.