Published on June 2nd, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


9% increase in passengers at Knock as Airport celebrates 31st Birthday

30th May 1986 marked the official opening of Knock Airport and 31 years later the airport is now doing better than ever. Now known as Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK), the airport led the way in growth among Irish airports in the first quarter of 2017. Total figures as published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a growth of 4.0% across the country with IWAK achieving 9.1%. Knock handled 134,221 passengers in Q1 compared to 123,034 in 2016 and 113,413 in 2015. The Airport handled a total 1,149 flights during the period.

6.7 million passengers were carried through Irish Airports in Q1 up from 6.4 million last year and 5.5 million in 2015. Dublin still dominates when it comes to passenger numbers accounting for 86.8% of all air passengers in the first quarter of 2017.

The airport opened on 25 October 1985 with three Aer Lingus charter flights to Rome: the official opening was on 30th May 1986. The site, on a hill in boggy terrain, was thought by many to be unrealistic but the airport was built following a long and controversial campaign by Monsignor James Horan, the story of which has even spawned a musical. At the time of construction, the primary motivation was for pilgrims to Knock Shrine. Despite criticisms that the site was too boggy and too foggy, Monsignor Horan delivered an airport within 5 years, primarily financed by a Government grant of £9.8 million. Monsignor Horan died shortly after the opening of the airport, and his funeral was held at the then named Horan International Airport. In recent times, Monsignor Horan has been celebrated with a bronze statue erected at the airport.

On the evening of Saturday 27th May, the airport hosted the now annual charity Runway Run in aid of Mayo Cancer Support, Western Alzheimer’s and Western Care. The event was supported by Bank of Ireland and the 1,600 participants raised almost €30,000 for the nominated charities. See video below.


👚👕 A Must Watch 👚👕
👚👕 Runway Run – The Video! 👚👕
Check out the highlights of an amazing day from before, during and after the Ireland West Airport 5k Runway Fun Run #BOIrun #charity #runwayrun

Posted by Ireland West Airport on Wednesday, 31 May 2017

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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