There is welcome news for the local economy with flights from Ireland West Airport Knock taking to the skies again this week.
On Friday, June 18, three of the airport’s UK routes resume with flights to London and Liverpool returning. The airport has been closed since January,
Ireland West Airport Knock’s flight schedule should expand in the coming weeks and months with more UK flights coming on stream with European and sun-holiday destinations set to return to the schedule on June 19.
From July, travel will be allowed within the European Union, as Ireland signs up to the EU Digital Green Certificate scheme, which will allow those who are fully vaccinated, those who have recovered from Covid-19 or have a negative PCR test, to travel within the EU. Ryanair will be operating flights to a number of sun destinations from mid-July onwards.
“When we got final confirmation a couple of weeks back that services would definitely start this coming Friday, we put a process in train to bring
back up to 60 staff initially, we had over 100 laid off,” said Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport. “We’re in good shape for Friday,” he added.
The returning routes represent just 10% of the airport’s overall schedule.
“It’s at a low level for obvious reasons but there will be three routes, Stansted, Luton, and Liverpool with three services a week to each of those locations for the next couple of weeks initially. That will slowly ramp up through July and August,” said Mr Gilmore.
The impact of Covid-19 saw Knock Airport lose almost €4 million last year. The MD is delighted to be back in business but warned that it will be a ‘slow recovery’ for the airport. He believes it will be three to four years before the airport gets anywhere near its pre-pandemic levels. “We are hoping it won’t take that long but that’s the reality that we are preparing for,” the airport boss stated.
“Obviously there is going to be a lot of caution from the travelling public. But we do see very significant demand, particularly from the UK market, people have been separated from family and loved ones now for almost a year and half,” he added.
The number of people travelling to and from the airport this Friday will be relatively low with around 30-40 people using each service.
The airport is following all protocols and guidelines put in place.
“Passengers arriving from the UK on Friday will be required to show a negative PCR test. They wouldn’t be allowed to travel from the UK if they didn’t have one. It will just a second check by the immigration services here. If passengers don’t have a negative test result there will be a requirement to go into hotel quarantine until a test is carried out. So, people will see a different airport for the first few weeks, there will be army personnel here to manage the hotel quarantine process if passengers are arriving and have pre-booked hotel quarantine or in cases where passengers don’t have a negative PCR test confirmation with them,” Mr Gilmore stated.