Passenger numbers at Ireland West Airport in Knock, Co Mayo, rose 10 per cent to more than 360,000 between June and October of this year. Annual passenger numbers are expected to exceed 720,000 in 2016, which would make it a record year for the airport.
The number of passengers using Knock's UK services increased by 14 per cent, due in large part to year-round services being added by Flybe to both Birmingham and Edinburgh.
This added an additional 25,000 passengers through the airport during the summer months. Knock now has the biggest selection of UK services from the west and north west of Ireland with direct flights to Birmingham, Bristol, London (Gatwick, Luton and Stansted), East Midlands, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester.
In total, the airport operates flights to 22 international destinations and is served by three major airlines: Aer Lingus, Flybe and Ryanair.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of Knock’s airport, with it welcoming its 10 millionth passenger to the facility, and securing investment from seven local authorities as equity shareholders.
The airport also held its first runway run for the public, and hosted a visit by the vice-president of the United States, Joe Biden.
Commenting on a busy summer season, the airport's managing director, Joe Gilmore, said: "These latest passenger figures are a direct result of the growth in passenger services offering an increased selection of routes to and from the west of Ireland. This growth benefits the local economies in both the west and northwest regions, particularly given the choice and range of flights to the UK, which is a key driver for inbound tourism."
Latest accounts for Connaught Airport Development Company Ltd, which operates the facility in Knock, show it made a profit of €112,201 to reduce its accumulated losses to €1.55 million. The total cost of its 115 staff came to just under €5 million.