Busy year in store at Knock Airport

2008 looks set to be the busiest year ever at Ireland West Airport Knock. Passenger numbers at the airport are expected to rise by a quarter in 2008 to almost 700,000. Staff at the Airport dealt with record Christmas traffic, with 38,000 passengers passing through the airport in December. To meet the increased demand, a major expansion of the terminal building, apron and landing systems is planned, with a price tag of €20 million. Car parking facilities are also to be expanded and a bus connection introduced. The growth in passenger numbers is a result of the expansion of the UK route network and increased charter holiday business. The introduction of scheduled transatlantic services to New York and Boston was a significant step forward and boost for the Airport and region in 2007. Both routes proved to have very satisfactory passenger demands with each reaching very high load factors (i.e. percentage of aircraft seats booked) of between 80 percent and 85 percent.  Robert Grealis, CEO, Ireland West Airport Knock said: ‘The Airport faced significant challenges at the outset of 2007 having lost almost a quarter of its annual passengers due to the withdrawal of our twice daily services to London Gatwick by carriers easyJet and Ryanair in late 2006. The loss of these routes has had a significant impact in 2007 but was minimised and offset with the development of scheduled services to East Midlands and Bristol with Ryanair and the welcome re-introduction of a six-times-a-week service to London Gatwick with XL.com in December. ‘Following five consecutive years of double digit growth, our overall passenger numbers for 2007 were 567,000, a decline of nine percent on the previous year. However, our new routes together with the good news that air carrier bmibaby will start a new scheduled route to Glasgow International Airport in February, we are projecting that passenger volumes in 2008 will increase by a quarter to almost 700,000, which will be the busiest year ever in the history of the Airport.’