Record-breaking year for Ireland West Airport in Knock

2023 has emerged as a landmark year for Ireland West Airport (Knock), marking its highest passenger traffic ever recorded. With a 13% increase in passenger numbers – reaching 818,000 – the airport surpassed its previous 2019 record of 807,000. This growth reflects the airport’s expanding influence, now connecting to 21 international destinations through three of Europe’s major airlines: Aer Lingus, Lauda Europe, and Ryanair.

UK routes a major driver

A significant driver of this growth was the UK routes, which accounted for 665,000 passengers. In a press statement, the regional airport explained that these figures were bolstered by Aer Lingus’s new daily service to London Heathrow, offering connections to over 80 global destinations. Ryanair also recorded its busiest year at the airport, carrying over 730,000 passengers – a 3% jump from 2022. Key routes contributing to this growth included Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Manchester.

Destinations on the rise

The airport witnessed a surge in traffic to cities across Europe, with 148,000 passengers travelling to destinations like Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Majorca, Malaga, Milan, Cologne, Lanzarote, and Tenerife. This represents a 7% increase over 2022, underscoring the growing appeal of European leisure destinations. When compared to the previously busiest year of 2019, short-haul traffic to the UK soared by 19%, while trips to European sun and city destinations rose by 16%.

Operational highlights and efficiency

August stood out as the busiest month last year, with over 102,000 passengers. The airport experienced its busiest day on August 29th, with 4,500 travellers. Over the course of 2024, the airport managed over 6,000 flights, with less than 10 flights affected by adverse weather – the lowest figure in its history.

Executive insight

Arthur French, Chairman of Ireland West Airport, expressed delight at the robust recovery and record-setting performance in 2023: “We are delighted to have seen such a strong recovery in passenger travel in 2023, which has resulted in a record year for the airport, which is great news for tourism and job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy”.

Also noting the significance of the successful visit to the airport of US President Joe Biden in 2023, Mr French extended gratitude to government representatives, customers, airline and tour operator partners, stakeholders, tourism groups, and local authorities for their support. He also commended the airport staff for their dedication and diligence: “We will continue to work with our stakeholders and airline partners over the next 12 months as we strive to further grow our suite of routes from the airport whilst continuing to invest in our airport transformation programme”.