Ireland West Airport in Knock saw its busiest year on record last year with passenger numbers growing five per cent on the previous record set in 2018 to reach 807,000 in 2019.
The 807,000 passengers who used the airport represents the fourth consecutive year of passenger growth at the airport, which now serves 23 international destinations.
The number of passengers travelling from the airport to mainland and continental Europe has also hit a new high, increasing by 20 per cent, with the addition of a new route to Cologne by Ryanair and additional capacity on the same airline's Barcelona service.
There was also a two per cent increase last year in the number of passengers using the airport to travel to and from the UK - while Ryanair had its busiest year ever for passenger numbers at Ireland West Airport where they carried 622,000 passengers last year.
Commenting on the 2019 performance, Arthur French, Chairman, Ireland West Airport said: "The continued growth at Ireland West Airport 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 airport's 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%, from 589k passengers in 2010 to a record high of 807k passengers, 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.
"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.
"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."
Last year also saw continued investment in the airport transformation programme, with a number of infrastructural projects completed during the course of they year which are aimed at transforming and modernising the airport to ensure the facility will meet the future needs of both passengers and airline customers.
The rehabilitation of the 2,400 metre runway between May and September was the single largest capital investment project undertaken by the airport since its initial construction and 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.
The completion of this project in September will ensure that the runway at Ireland West Airport continues to meet the strict regulations governing the operation and specification of runways at major airports. The runway, which opened in 1985, handles 100 per cent of all flights at the airport and this is the first time in its 34-year history that the runway has had a full overlay.
This year has also got off to a good start as the airport is set to welcome a brand new airline - Austrian based airline, Lauda, a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Ryanair Holdings plc, which will launch a new service to Palma Majorca from the airport starting on March 31 - their first ever service from regional Ireland.
The new Majorca service will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the summer period using an Airbus A320 aircraft. Lauda is a low-cost carrier based in Vienna in Austria and currently flies to 38 destinations across Europe.