By Trevor Quinn
There has been a very strong rebound in travel at Ireland West Airport with passenger numbers hitting 86,000 in July.
The airport’s head of marketing, Donal Healy, is delighted by the number of jet setters, especially considering travel industry experts predicted it would be 2024 before there was a full recovery.
“It has rebounded back very strongly, particularly since March and April of this year when we really started to see a big uptake in passengers and that has continued into the summer, particularly in June and July. Last month was a very strong and we had 86,000 passengers in July, which was only 3,000 off what we did in July 2019.”
Dublin Airport made international headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this summer after long queues stretched outside the airport terminals and over 1,000 people missed their flights, but Dublin’s woes have proved to be a blessing for Ireland West.
“From looking at our online parking we can see car registrations from all over the country with strong increases in bookings from the likes of Donegal, Westmeath, Cavan and Monaghan,” said Mr Healy. “Hopefully, that’s a sign that people in those areas are looking at the airport more this summer and the convenience of flying out from here, as well as the increased number of destinations and we now fly to 19 destinations across the UK and Europe.”
Mr Healy said it has been very encouraging to see an increase in passengers from the airport’s extended catchment area. While passengers always frequently travelled from western counties there has been a noticeable increase in passengers from Galway and Midlands counties.
“It has been great to see, particularly from the likes of the Galway region where they have the option of going to Dublin as it’s only two hours on the motorway.”
Mr Healy also said it was a big boost to see soccer sides St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers using the facility on Wednesday last as they flew off to Bulgaria and Norway respectively for European matches.
“It would be fairly unusual to be getting charter requests from the likes of St Patrick’s Athletic because they’re based in Dublin.
“But it’s one of these things where there’s ongoing issues with congestion and staffing issues and it’s a case of they looked at alternative airports and thankfully they chose ourselves.”
The airport also facilitated a private flight on behalf of Conor McGregor to fly his family and friends to his 34th birthday celebration in Ibiza last month.