Ireland West Airport enjoyed a 14 per cent increase in passenger numbers during the summer period, with more than 360,000 passengers using the airport between June and October. The airport is on track to record the busiest year in its 30 year history, with annual passenger numbers set to exceed 720,000 for the first time in 2016.
Passenger numbers using the airport's nine UK services increased by 14 per cent, thanks mainly to new year-round services added by Flybe to both Birmingham and Edinburgh, which added an additional 25,000 passengers through the airport during the summer months. The airport now has the biggest selection of UK services from the west and northwest of Ireland, with access to nine UK markets including direct flights to Birmingham, Bristol, London (Gatwick, Luton, and Stansted ), East Midlands, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Manchester.
Services to and from European sun and city break destinations continued to grow with the airport now offering flights to a choice of 10 different destinations across Europe including to Croatia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. A new service introduced by Falcon and Thomson Holidays to Salou in June proved particularly popular with holidaymakers from across the region.
IWAK now serves 22 international destinations and is served by three of Europe's major international airlines — Aer Lingus, Flybe, and Ryanair.
This year has proven a particularly busy year for events at the airport as it celebrated the 30th anniversary of its official opening in May. Notable milestones this year also included the airport welcoming its 10 millionth passenger, holding its first runway run for the public, and welcoming a very special visit from US vice president Joe Biden. All these special events were filmed and form part of a six part series called The Airport up in Knock, currently being aired on UTV Ireland every Monday at 8pm.
This year also saw an investment by seven local authorities for an equity shareholding into the airport, representing a unique and positive collaboration with local government in the areas of tourism, economic development, and diaspora engagement.
“These latest passenger figures are a direct result of the growth in passenger services offering an increased selection of routes to and from the west of Ireland," said Joe Gilmore, managing director of Ireland West Airport. "This growth benefits the local economies in both the west and northwest regions, particularly given the choice and range of flights to the UK which is a key driver for inbound tourism."