Ireland West Airport Knock
|Ireland West Airport Knock
Aerfort Iarthar Éireann Chnoc Mhuire
|Owner/Operator||Connacht Airport Development Company Ltd|
|Location||Charlestown, County Mayo|
|Elevation AMSL||665 ft / 203 m|
Ireland West Airport Knock (Irish: Aerfort Iarthar Éireann Chnoc Mhuire) is a regional airport located 5.6km (3.5 miles) south-west of Charlestown, County Mayo, Ireland. The village of Knock is 20km (12.5 miles) away. In 2014, 703,318 passengers used the airport, making it the fourth busiest in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airport. It was previously known as Knock International Airport, Connaught Regional Airport, and Horan International Airport. Some airlines (especially low-cost airlines) know it as Knock Ireland West. Connaught Aero Club  and Eirtrade Aircraft Services  are based at the airport.
The airport opened on 25 October 1985 with three Aer Lingus charter flights to Rome: the official opening was on 30 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.
Since 2003, flag-carrier, low-cost and regional airlines including Aer Lingus, MyTravelLite, Bmibaby, Ryanair, Aer Arann, flybe, Lufthansa and EasyJet have added routes to the UK and mainland Europe. Not all have proven successful, but by 2005 the airport was handling 500,000 passengers per annum.
In 2008 a record 629,000 passengers used the airport, a 13% rise compared to the previous year.
The installation of the Category II Instrument Landing System in April 2009 has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of flight diversions to other airports due to poor visibility – the airport is 200 metres above sea level.
August 2009 was the busiest month for three years, with 81,000 passengers: 28 August was the busiest day in the airport's history with over 4,500 passengers.
In 2011, the month of August was the busiest in the airport's history with 84,052 passengers. 2011 was the most successful year to date with 654,553 passengers. The year saw the commencement of routes to Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria operated by Ryanair and to Edinburgh operated by flybe.
In November 2011 Ryanair announced flights to Beauvais-Tillé, Frankfurt-Hahn, Bergamo-Orio al Serio and Girona-Costa Brava from March 2012. In January 2012 the 20th scheduled route was announced, flybe to Leeds, its third from the airport, from March 2012. In May 2012 budget carrier BmiBaby announced that it was to axe its only route to Birmingham from 10 June due to the airline's takeover by IAG. Flights to Beauvais-Tillé and Frankfurt-Hahn have since ended.
In 2013, Ryanair launched a weekly summer route to Malaga on Thursdays. Aer Lingus Regional, which took over the Birmingham route operating a daily service using ATR 72s ended service on 26 October. Flybe began 4 times weekly flights on the route on 27 October.
On 31 October 2013, in response to the scrapping of the Irish travel tax, Ryanair unveiled 3 new routes from Knock to Glasgow-Prestwick, Kaunas and Eindhoven. However, these routes had all been withdrawn by the fourth quarter of 2014.
On the 16 August 2015, Aer Lingus operated its first transatlantic flight into the airport when carrying members of the Archdiocese of New York alongside Archbishop Timothy Dolan. The Archbishop of New York subsequently opened the National Novena the following week after a tour around the Island. The aircraft used for the Flight was a Boeing 757-200.
The building of the airport was primarily financed by Government grants totaling £9.858 million. The completion of the airport was funded by a £1.3 million grant from EU, payable on condition that the airport developers provided an equal sum from their own resources.
On 21 February 2007, the Government of Ireland announced that it was making a €27 million capital grant. The airport stated that it would continue the implementation of its €46 million infrastructural investment programme with over €20 million of spend anticipated for 2008. Work commenced on a number of significant civil and building projects in this year. A€5.5 million extension to the terminal building was completed in April 2009. An extension to the apron that will see this more than double in size has commenced. The implementation of Category II Instrument Landing System (CAT II ILS) on runway 27, to enhance reliability in low visibility, has been completed and approved. An extension to the Runway End Safety Areas (RESAs) and runway turnpad was completed in 2008.
Departing passengers aged 12 years and over pay a "Development Fee" of €10. The fee is highly controversial as the "development costs" from 1986 are generally thought to have been paid off many years ago.
In 2005 the airport changed its name to Ireland West Airport Knock. As of August 2009, the Aeronautical Information Publication, including the aeronautical charts available at European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, show it as Ireland West.
Airlines and destinations
The following airlines operate scheduled services to and from Ireland West Airport Knock:
|AlbaStar||Seasonal charter: Reus|
|Flybe||Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester|
|Ryanair||East Midlands, Lanzarote, Liverpool, London-Luton, London-Stansted
Seasonal: Alicante, Bergamo, Bristol, Faro, Málaga, Tenerife-South
|Rank||Airport||Passengers|| % Change
|Source: Central Statistics Office|
The airport is on the main N17 north – south road, halfway between Galway and Sligo, close to the junction with the N5 east – west Westport – Castlebar – Longford road. There is a taxi rank outside the arrivals/departures entrance, car hire is also available from the terminal building. There are over 1,500 accessible short-term and long-term spaces. The nearest city Galway is approximately 87 kilometres (54 mi) away. Limerick is approximately 171 kilometres (106 mi) away and Dublin is around 220 kilometres (140 mi) from the airport.
Bus Éireann services:
- Route 64: Derry – Sligo – Galway
- Route 438: Ireland West Airport Knock – Ballina
- Route 440: Ireland West Airport Knock - Castlebar - Westport - Achill Island
Bus services connecting Charlestown
- Route 22: Dublin Airport - Mullingar - Longford - Ballina and return 
- Route 66: Westport - Balina - Sligo - Enniskillen - Belfast and return 
Ireland West Knock airport is serviced by specially licensed taxis, and are available outside the Terminal or can be pre-booked.
Incidents and accidents
- On 23 March 2006, a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 "only marginally avoided controlled flight into terrain", during an approach on a flight from London Gatwick, according to the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit. An unbriefed descent while the flight crew concentrated on reprogramming for a new approach meant they arrived over the airport at 410 ft with landing gear and flaps up. The aircraft landed successfully at a second approach attempt.
- The construction of the airport is the subject of "Knock Song" by Irish folk singer-songwriter Christy Moore. The musical "On a Wing and a Prayer" deals with the life and times of Monsignor James Horan, focusing on his long and arduous struggle to get the airport built. It premièred in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, on 25 November 2010.
- PDF). AIP and charts from the Irish Aviation Authority. (
- "2013 is second busiest year in airports history as 665,000 passengers pass through the airport in 2013". Irelandwestairport.com. 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- Connaught Aero Club
- Eirtrade Aircraft Services
- "History of Ireland West Airport Knock". Ireland West Airport Knock. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
- "The Remarkable Life Story of Monsignor James Horan". Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Pictures of Boeing 747 at Knock Airport flickr.com, June 2003.
- "New scheduled flights to New York & Boston commence!". IrelandWestAirport.com. 31 May 2007. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007.
- "Investment of €3.6 million undertaken to complete two major projects". Irelandwestairport.com. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- "Ireland West Airport Knock - Over 81,000 passengers use the Airport in August". Irelandwestairport.com. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- "Ryanair celebrates 4 million passengers on Knock flights". September 2011.
- "Lufthansa to start Knock Airport service". RTÉ News. 14 September 2011.
- "Ryanair announces major European expansion from Ireland West Airport Knock". Irelandwestairport.com. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
- "Scheduled Flights Summer / Autumn 2014".
- CSO Ireland Database – Air Passenger Movement
- Bus Eireann Route 64
- Bus Eireann Route 438
- Bus Eireann Route 440
- Bus Eireann Route 22
- Bus Eireann Route 66
- Airport Taxis
- Ireland West Knock Airport Car Rental
- "Serious Incident: Boeing B737-800 (sic), EI-DHX, Ireland West Airport, Knock, 23 Mar 2006". AAIU. Retrieved 30 December 2007.
Media related to Ireland West Airport Knock at Wikimedia Commons