Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs has approved the investment by the Western Development Commission (WDC) of a further €1 million in Ireland West Airport Knock, through the Western Investment Fund. This brings the total amount invested in the airport since December 2003 through the Western Investment Fund to €2.3m.
Ireland West Airport Knock will use this allocation to develop the airport site which is critical to its future growth and it will also be used for the development of a business park. The airport has made very significant progress over the past three years with passenger numbers growing from a static base of 200,000 p.a. to 530,000 in 2005, an increase of 165% in this three year period. The charter business alone has increased 400% in this period. The airport forecasts that passenger numbers will increase further over the next four years, growing to over 1 million passengers by 2009. Employment at the airport has grown from 56 in 2002 to 117 in 2005 and projected to increase to149 by 2009.
“There has been some private commercial development in the environs of the Ireland West Airport Knock in recent years and just last month OPW selected the preferred tenderer for the construction of the new HQ building for my Department at the airport. I believe that the development of this and other activities will support and enhance the offering at Ireland West Knock and will be a significant source of income over time to the airport. It also has the potential to be major centre of employment in the heart of the Western Region” Minister Ó Cuív said.
Gillian Buckley, Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission stated “The WDC sees the development of international air access and ancillary facilities such as the business park at Ireland West Airport Knock as having the potential to be a major catalyst for regional development in the heart of Connaught. The airport can deliver a major economic impact for the region, delivering jobs and tourists and well as improving people’s quality of lives.”
Liam Scollan, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock said; “The airport is extremely grateful to Minister O Cuiv and to the WDC for its support. The WDC’s investment since 2003 has underpinned much of the success of the airport to date and I am confident this latest investment will also lead to better facilities, more flights andmore employment in the long term.”