Airports

Published on January 14th, 2018 | by Mark Dwyer

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Record passenger numbers in 2017 for Ireland West Airport Knock

2017 has proven to be the busiest year on record at Ireland West Airport with passenger numbers reaching 750,000 for the first time in the airports history, surpassing the previous record of 734,000 passengers achieved in 2016.

In 2017, the annual number of passengers using the airport increased by 2% to 750,000, an increase of 15,500 passengers compared to 2016. This is significantly down from the 9.3% increase seen on the 2015 passenger numbers but this is not surprising following the Brexit vote in 2016. The airport now serves 23 International destinations and is served by three of Europe’s major International airlines, Aer Lingus, Flybe and Ryanair.

Despite the ongoing concerns over Brexit, within the aviation industry in particular, the growth in passenger numbers in 2017 was fuelled by a very strong performance across the range of UK services available at the airport, with an extra 18,000 passengers travelling to and from the UK in 2017, which represented a 3% increase on 2016 numbers. This is in contrast to the rest of the major Irish airports where UK passenger numbers have been falling. This is most likely to be a result of a strong pound and the effects of Brexit. Passenger numbers using Flybe’s services to Birmingham and Edinburgh reached record levels whilst Aer Lingus recorded the highest number of passengers using their London Gatwick service since the route started in 2009.

Ireland West Airport has enjoyed continued steady growth over the last few years.

The airport serves 9 different airports across the UK which represents the biggest selection of UK services to and from the West and North West of Ireland. Services to Continental and Mainland Europe continued to perform strongly with over 100,000 passengers availing of flights to a range of European destinations such as Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Lanzarote, Milan, Tenerife and the Costa Dorada service with TUI Holidays.

2017 also saw the airport commence work on a €15m facilities investment plan aimed at transforming the airport over the next three years. The investment strategy will see over €15m invested in new passenger facilities, terminal upgrades and infrastructural works across the airport facility and runway. By the end of the first quarter of 2018 almost €4m worth of major infrastructural projects, to improve the operational efficiency and to upgrade and enhance the airports facilities and services, will have been completed.

Commenting on the 2017 performance, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director at Ireland West Airport said “We are delighted to have had a record year in 2017 with passenger numbers reaching 750,000 for the first time in the airports history which is good news for the regional economy, for tourism, and for job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy. I would like to express our continued thanks to 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 in light of some very challenging weather conditions particularly over the past couple of months’

2018 has already got off to a strong start with the announcement this week of a new service to Palma Majorca with TUI Holidays, which will commence in June 2018. In addition, Flybe announced they would be adding an extra 16,000 seats on their services to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester in 2018 and Ryanair have increased capacity on their Milan service by 35%, adding an additional 3,500 seats for summer 2018.

Top 10 arrivals and departures for Knock Airport by number of passengers in 2016, the latest year for which figures are available from the CSO.

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About the Author

Mark Dwyer

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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