Waterford Airport

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Waterford Airport
Aerfort Phort Láirge
WRA logo.jpg
Aircraft at Waterford Airport.jpg
    WAT is located in Ireland
    Location of Waterford Airport in Ireland
Airport type Public
Operator Waterford Regional Airport
Serves Waterford, Ireland
Location Killowen
Elevation AMSL 119 ft / 36 m
Coordinates 52°11′14″N 007°05′13″W / 52.18722°N 7.08694°W / 52.18722; -7.08694 (Waterford Airport)Coordinates: 52°11′14″N 007°05′13″W / 52.18722°N 7.08694°W / 52.18722; -7.08694 (Waterford Airport)
Website www.flywaterford.com
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 1,433 (1,585) 4,701 (5,200) Asphalt
Statistics (2015)
Passengers 34,213
Passenger change 14-15 Increase3.1%
Sources: Airport website,[1] Irish AIS[2] Passengers[3]

Waterford Airport (Irish: Aerfort Phort Láirge) (IATA: WAT, ICAO: EIWF) is located in Killowen, 4 NM (7.4 km; 4.6 mi)[2] southeast of Waterford. It serves southeastern Ireland. The airport is operated by Waterford Regional Airport plc. In 2015 34,213 passengers passed through the airport, an increase of 3.1% over the previous year.

Its single scheduled route, operated by VLM Airlines—which used Waterford as its only Irish airport and kept a base there—was discontinued from 13 June 2016, leaving the airport without any scheduled traffic. This occurred because VLM went out of business.[4]


Early years[edit]

The airport's development was initiated by Waterford Corporation, with support from the Government of Ireland and the private sector, in 1979–1980. The investment was £1.76 million.

Waterford Airport opened in 1981, with a 1,200 by 29 m (3,937 by 95 ft) runway for single and twin-engine light aircraft and a portable cabin as the terminal building. In 1992 the current terminal building was opened, and the runway was expanded to 1,433 by 30 m (4,701 by 98 ft). Avair provided the first domestic passenger service in 1982 to Dublin Airport, which originated at Cork. In 1985 Ryanair launched the company's first international scheduled service from Waterford to London Gatwick, before upgrading and switching the service to London Luton.

Between 1987 and 1988 Aer Lingus operated services to Dublin. During 1993 Orient Air operated services to Gloucestershire, London Luton and Jersey. From 1993 to 2000 Manx Airlines flew to London Stansted and Manchester. Between 1994 and 1999 Suckling Airways operated to London Luton, and during 1996 Emerald Airways operated services to Liverpool.

Development since the 2000s[edit]

From 2001 to 2003 Euroceltic Airways flew to London Luton, Liverpool and Dublin.

In 2006 Waterford Airport celebrated 21 years of scheduled operations. On 13 March 2007 a 27.5 million upgrade of Waterford Airport was announced. Over the next two years the money was spent on extending the runway to 7,300 ft in length, building a new passenger terminal capable of handling one million passengers a year, and introducing scheduled flights to European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Prague and Rome. There was also an expectation of charter flights to Mediterranean holiday resorts. The expansion would mean that air travellers in the southeast of Ireland would have a "credible alternative" to Dublin and Cork airports, according to officials at Waterford Airport. According to the chief executive of Waterford Airport, Graham Doyle, the extended runway was to be in place by summer 2009 and capable of handling large jet aircraft, including the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.[5]

On 14 May 2007 Aer Arann announced that it would open a base in Waterford Airport, and also announced services to Birmingham. The airline based an ATR 72-201 at Waterford Airport to operate the services. On the same day Aer Arann announced three new international routes, from Waterford to Bordeaux, Faro and Málaga.[6]

On 10 January 2008 Aer Arann announced the return of the summer routes to Bordeaux, Faro and Málaga, along with a new service to Amsterdam.[7] On 16 January 2009 all these services were suspended in a cost-saving programme, announced by Aer Arann as owing to the downturn in passenger traffic.

The fully upgraded and remodelled connecting regional road, R708, from Waterford city to the airport was completed in early July 2008, reducing the journey time from Waterford city centre to the airport to 10 minutes at off-peak times, and from the outer ring road, R470, to the airport to 5 minutes.

Passenger numbers through Waterford Airport slumped in 2009, owing to the suspension of routes to Bordeaux, Faro, Málaga and Amsterdam, and to service reductions on routes to Birmingham, London Luton and Manchester. Overall passenger numbers from the UK fell by 9%.[8]

In February 2010 a Economic Impact Assessment of Waterford Airport was published, which highlighted the importance of Waterford Airport to the South East. Waterford Airport is key to the economy of the South East region and is set to play a more vital role in promoting business, tourism and the region's economic development in the future.[9] On 9 March 2010 Noel Dempsey, the Transport Minister, announced that owing to difficulties with the public finances there would be no funding for the runway extension at the airport, and that security and safety were priorities that were going ahead.[10]

Aer Arann ATR 72-201 in Waterford

On 12 May 2010 Aer Arann announced an expansion of services from Waterford to London and Galway. The airline said that there was high demand for services to London Luton, and that the load factors of the Galway flights were very high. This was seen as a welcome boost for the airport, with passenger numbers still well down.

On 14 March 2012 Aer Arann transferred all of its Waterford routes into the Aer Lingus Regional brand, effective from 25 March 2012. Flybe launched a daily service to Birmingham on 25 March 2012. In November 2012 Aer Arann and Aer Lingus Regional announced the closure of all services from Waterford effective from January 6, 2013.[11] Flybe was to continue to operate four times weekly to Birmingham. Waterford hoped to gain back some services, particularly flights to London.

Flybe announced a route to Manchester starting on 22 May 2013, which was dropped by Aer Lingus Regional on 6 January.

On 12 August 2013 it was reported that a 150m extension of the runway would be funded by the Department of Transport up to a limit of €400,000. The airport itself would have to raise the remaining €850,000 for it to take place.

However, VLM Airlines announced it would terminate its flights to London Luton at short notice by 13 June 2016, leaving Waterford Airport without any scheduled traffic.[4]


Waterford Airport has four check-in desks, an information desk, two boarding gates and two baggage carousels. The airport has two hundred car-parking spaces. Free WiFi is available within the airport terminal. There are two snack bars in the airport: one before security and one in the departures hall. There are also car rental services, a taxi service rank, First Aid, Baby/Parent Room, and Disabled Access/Facilities.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

As of June 2016, the airport had no scheduled commercial passenger flights. The only remaining service by VLM Airlines to London Luton officially ended on 13 June 2016[4] although flights had already ceased some days earlier.


Passenger numbers
Year Passengers [P]  % Change [P] Movements [M]  % Change [M] Carriers
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann
VLM Airlines

Ground transportation[edit]


The airport is on the R708 road, which can be accessed from the R710 outer ring road in Waterford. Car hire is available in the arrivals hall of the terminal building, with two car rental companies. There are 200 car parking spaces outside the terminal. Cars may only be parked during the airport's opening hours, and vehicles cannot be accessed outside of these hours. Waterford has a by-pass, and thus the airport can be very easily reached from Dungarvan, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford. After reaching the outer ring road, three major primary routes can be accessed from Waterford: towards New Ross, Dublin and Cork.

Other transportation connections[edit]

The nearest bus and coach station is 10 km away in Waterford, from where Bus Éireann provides services to Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Rosslare Europort, Wexford, Clonmel and Tramore. JJ Kavanagh and Sons offers connections to Dublin Airport, Carlow and Tramore as well. Dublin Coach provides a direct service to Dublin via Kilkenny, and to Cork via Dungarvan. There is also a railway station in Waterford; this offers services to Limerick via Clonmel and Tipperary, and to Dublin Heuston via Kilkenny and Carlow.

Companies based at Waterford Airport[edit]

  • Waterford Airport is the base for the South East Rescue Helicopter; this is operated by the Irish Coast Guard and provides 24-hour rescue cover. The aircraft currently being used is the Sikorsky S-92, and operates with the call-sign "Rescue 117".
  • Waterford Aero Club is based at the airport. The club is registered with the Irish Aviation Authority as a Registered Training Facility, and can conduct training to a private pilot standard. The three aircraft located there are a Piper Warrior & two Tecnam P2002-JFs. There is also a number of privately owned aircraft located at the club.
  • The International Academy of Travel provides cabin crew, check-in, reservation sales, travel agency and holiday representative training to candidates hoping to obtain jobs in the travel industry.
  • Shamrock Aviation is an aircraft maintenance facility based at Waterford Airport, and offers aircraft and engine services and repair facilities.
  • European Aviation College is also located in the terminal building. It provides conversion courses for pilots wishing to convert their FAA ATPL to an EASA ATPL, along with fear of flying courses and airline pilot preparation classes.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Waterford Airport at Wikimedia Commons