Ireland West Airport Knock (Irish: Aerfort Iarthar Éireann Chnoc Mhuire) is an airport located 3 NM (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) south-west of Charlestown, County Mayo. 630,000 passengers used the airport in 2008. The airport was formerly known as Knock International Airport, Connacht Regional Airport, and Horan International Airport. Connaught Aero Club and Shoreline Aviation are based at the airport.
The airport was officially opened on 30 May 1986, however the first commercial flights operated seven months earlier on 25 October 1985 in the form of three Aer Lingus charter flights to Rome.The opening followed a long campaign by Monsignor James Horan. The airport was intended to bring employment to an impoverished corner of Ireland, as well as allow pilgrims to visit the nearby Roman Catholic Knock Shrine which commemorates an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1879.
Ryanair commenced flights to London Luton during 1986, with a route to London Stansted added in 1992. By 1988, over 100,000 passengers had passed through the airport. In 1995 Aer Lingus commenced flights to Birmingham.
In June 2003 hundreds of people gathered at Knock International Airport to view a Boeing 747 land with 500 returning pilgrims from Lourdes. The aircraft stood as high as the airport's air traffic control tower. It was the second 747 to land at Knock.
Since 2003, low-cost and regional airlines including MyTravelLite, Bmibaby, Ryanair, Aer Arann and EasyJet have added several daily flights linking the airport with UK destinations, and though not all routes proved successful by 2005 the airport was handling 500,000 passengers per annum.
Knock was voted Ireland's best regional airport in 2004 and again in 2006 by the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland.
2007 was a record year for the airport, with scheduled transatlantic services to New York and Boston commenced during May 2007, operated by the now defunct airline Flyglobespan.
In 2008 a record 629,000 passengers used the airport, a 13% rise compared to the previous year.
Since the installation of the Category II Instrument Landing System in April 2009 and up to January 2010, only five flights had been diverted to other airports due to poor visibility conditions.
In recent years Ryanair have grown operations at the airport and is the largest airline to serve the airport with nine scheduled routes. Ryanair commenced a service to Alicante in June 2009, the airport's first scheduled continental European service.
August 2009 was the busiest month in the airport for three years, with 81,000 passengers using the airport. Also, the 28th of August was the busiest day in the airport's history with over 4,500 passengers using the facility on that day.
On 21 February 2007, the Government of Ireland announced that it was giving €27 million of capital grant money to Ireland West Airport.
The Airport has stated that it will continue the implementation of its €46 million infrastructural investment programme with over €20 million of spend anticipated for 2008. Work will commence 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. A extension to the apron will see this more than double in size has commenced. The implementation of Category II Instrument Landing System (CAT II ILS) on runway 27, which will enhance the reliability of the Airport in low visibility conditions, is completed and approved. An extension to the Runway Ends Safety Areas (RESAs) and runway turnpad was completed in 2008. The airport expect to install a cat 1 ILS on runway 09 with a cat 3 lighting system in 2010-2011.
An additional "Development Fee" of €10 is charged to all departing passengers aged 12 years and over.
Ireland West Airport Knock - Aerfort Iarthar Éireann Chnoc Mhuire
IATA: NOC - ICAO: EIKN
Airport type: Public
Owner/Operator: Connacht Airport Development Company Ltd
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 as Ireland West.