Today, Thursday, 19th April, 2007 the Minister for Transport, Mr Martin Cullen, T.D. accompanied by Mayo T.D. Mr John Carty visited Ireland West Airport Knock. On behalf of the board members and management Mr Joe Kennedy, Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock took the political visit as an opportunity to welcome and official thank the Minister and the Government for awarding an investment of €27.1 million to the Airport. It was the single largest investment ever in the history of the Airport and comes as a major boost to driving the future growth and development of the Airport and the region.
Minister Cullen announced the substantial investment last February under the new Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme for Regional Airports. Ireland West Airport Knock was the beneficiary of the largest aid among all the regional airports in Ireland and immediately commenced work on its ambitious €46 million expenditure plan programme. The Minister congratulated the Board of Ireland West Airport Knock on its achievements to date and its commitment and vision to drive forward towards even greater business success.
Minister Cullen said: “Ireland West Airport Knock has grown from strength to strength. The seven regular scheduled services, as well as the number of charter flights that it provides, offer great choice to the people of the west and north west regions. The number of passengers who used the airport last year was over 630,000 - almost 20% more than in 2005. You have now reached another exciting phase in expanding the airport, as you prepare for the inaugural Flyglobespan flights to New York and Boston next month. This venture truly puts Knock airport on the map as a key strategic aviation facility.”
Mr Joe Kennedy, Chairman, Ireland West Airport Knock, personally addressed the Minister on behalf of the board saying: “We thank the Government, Minister Cullen and his department of Transport officials who have worked with the airport over many years to put this investment in place this appreciation comes from the airport and will benefit all in the region.”
The Board and management have devised a 35 year vision Masterplan for the development at Ireland West Airport. The major projects will start in 2007 and will many be completed by 2008. One of the key projects planned will be improvements to the Airport’s landing systems including CAT II Instrumentation Landing Systems (ILS) which will enable aircraft to land in extreme weather conditions. In addition, new construction projects will include the expansion of the Airport’s aircraft parking area known as the apron, extension of the Airport’s security screening and departures lounge areas, and the upgrading of the airfield’s perimeter fencing.
Commenting on the roll out of the airport’s development programme, Mr Liam Scollan, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport Knock said: “The investment made by Minister Cullen and the Department of Transport has given the airport the ability to commence projects promptly and complete the projects on time. The majority of projects are being rolled out in 2007 and a number of them will be completed by 2008 namely the perimeter fence, Cat 11 ILS as well as work on the terminal. The €46 million expenditure plan will see Ireland West Airport Knock further strengthen its position as the main international air access gateway for the West/North West and Midlands region.
The board and management also thanked the Minister and the Department of Transport for the new Bus Éireann services which will make the airport more accessible for passengers in the BMW region. However they called on the Minister to consider additional connections from Ballina, Longford, Athlone and Carrick-on-Shannon.