Knock Airport, the brainchild of the late Monsignor James Horan, has proved critics wrong by reporting a dramatic increase in passenger numbers this year. The airport, built in a County Mayo bogland, recorded 200,000 passengers in 2002. Figures for 2004 are estimated to have doubled with a notable rise in charter flight business.
Despite being ridiculed by many commentators when Monsignor Horan first promoted the idea, Knock has surpassed its target as a service primarily for emigrant traffic to and from Britain. Serving a catchment area from the midlands and the west of Ireland as far as Donegal, the airport now operates flights to 25 destinations in Europe. Recent additions include tours to South Africa.
“People can literally have their lunch in Mayo and be in Lanzarote in time for evening tea,” says Liam Scollan, chief executive at the airport. “The most repeated comment we get is that it takes the stress out of traveling. And people are even more grateful when they are returning at the end of a holiday, when they just want to get home as quickly as possible.” ♦