Notwithstanding massive challenges within the aviation industry in the past 12 months, Ireland West Airport Knock’s latest traffic figures prove that 2012 was its busiest year in its 26-year history. In 2012, the annual number of passengers using Ireland West Knock increased by over 30,000 to 685,000 – an increase of 5% on 2011 numbers. The airport now serves over 25 international destinations and is served by five of Europe’s biggest airlines.
In 2012 Ireland West Airport Knock opened up access to seven new European markets, with airlines Lufthansa, Ryanair, Flybe, and Aer Lingus Regional as well as Irish tour operator Sunway. Highlights included the commencement of the only direct services from mainland Europe to the West of Ireland from Düsseldorf, Milan, Paris, Frankfurt, and Barcelona, which brought over 13,000 new tourists to the West of Ireland generating an estimated spend in the local economy of in the region of €7 million.
Other highlights in 2012 included:
- The airport’s new Departures Shop was the focus of an episode of the RTÉ show, Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy, which aired in December
- 29 major audits in safety, security and regulatory departments in 2012 all passed and ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation was achieved for the provision of a quality management system in the air traffic control department
- Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, commenced new services from Germany – its only schedule services to any airport in Ireland outside of Dublin Airport
- Operational delays at the airport reduced to between 0 – 2% in 2012
A recent independent study by economic consultants Ernst & Young stated that the airport supports a total of 914 jobs in the region with an overall economic contribution of €143 million annually.
Ireland West Airport Knock predicts that the current economic conditions will continue to influence travel patterns in 2013, but already there has been positive new route announcements in the past couple of weeks with the news that Ryanair will commence a new weekly service to Malaga, which starts in April. This is Ryanair’s sixth sun destination from Ireland West Airport Knock along with its services to Alicante, Faro-Algarve, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.
Also recently announced, Sunway, Ireland’s largest Irish-owned tour operator, has confirmed that a new weekly service to Palma Majorca will start in June. This is the second service Sunway will operate from Ireland West Airport Knock along with its weekly programme to Lanzarote.
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director at Ireland West Airport Knock, said: “We are delighted to have had a record year in 2012 against what is currently a very difficult environment in the aviation industry. While 2012 was our busiest year ever, without doubt 2013 will be a challenge for everyone in the region. More than ever the airport needs the support of the people in this region and in particular engagement at a strategic level with Government representatives at all levels to ensure that future Government aviation policy enables this airport to continue to grow and develop essential international connectivity that will lead to more jobs and prosperity for the people of the West and North West of Ireland.”