The rise and rise of Ireland West Airport Knock will be explored in a new six-part UTV Ireland documentary series, beginning on Monday November 7 at 8pm. For the first time, we see inside the unlikely success story of an airport which was initially a strip of tarmacadam atop a peaty mountain, in The Airport Up in Knock.
With exclusive access to every part of the airport itself, The Airport Up in Knock is a unique documentary following the daily lives of the customers and staff of Knock Airport, and demonstrates how tightly woven the airport is into the modern DNA of Mayo and the west of Ireland. From customer services to airport operations, right up to the kitchen where the renowned Knock Special is prepared, the show takes a trip with the passengers, staff, and community of this vital lifeline for the west.
Across the series it will follow Jim Corry, the airport’s head of technical operations since it opened in 1986, as he makes sure that all of the airport’s navigational equipment is running smoothly for a vital inspection from the aviation authority. If the equipment is not up to scratch then the whole airport could be shut down - will everything go according to plan?
Head of operations John McCarthy is busy overseeing the preparations for a celebration of 30 years in the business, with dignitaries arriving into the airport for a gala dinner from around the world. Downstairs, Anne Hardman and the rest of the customer services department are busy helping passengers from all walks of life get to where they need to go, in a speedy fashion. Their friendliness and camaraderie is the life blood of Knock Airport, and they play a vital role in getting nearly a quarter of a million people through the airport every year.
Elsewhere, Donal Healy and Audrey Elliot from the marketing department are devising ways to highlight the new route to Edinburgh from the airport, while also planning ahead to welcome the airport’s 10 millionth passenger, who is unwittingly about to arrive into the airport - what surprise is in store for this lucky traveller? Also on the agenda is organising a 5K runway run to celebrate Knock Airport’s 30th anniversary and to raise money for local charities.
The airport’s chief of security Pearse Concannon is working with members of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces to get ready for the arrival of their biggest VIP yet – the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. Aside from that, he is busy running a tight ship, ensuring that the security at Knock Airport is up to the highest international standards. Perched high above the rest of the airport in the control tower, Mike Connolly and his team of air-traffic controllers have a bird’s eye of all arrivals and departures. The flights are in good hands, but with the airport set on ‘a foggy, boggy hill’, weather can play havoc with planes landing in the west. The only transatlantic flight is set to land from Boston, but with the airport at near zero-visibility, touchdown is looking unlikely. Will the flight be diverted to another airport or can Mike Connolly and his team safely guide it in?
In the show you will also meet two commuters who travel through Knock Airport each week to work in the UK. Over the last three decades, the airport has seen its yearly passenger numbers increase from just over 9,000 in its first year, to a forecasted 725,000 passengers in its 30th. Knock Airport boasts an average of 150 flights per week, to 23 destinations across the UK, Europe, and the United States.