New Transatlantic Flights Offer Enormous Benefits to Western Region
Ireland West Airport Knock is delighted to announce today, the introduction of Ireland’s first scheduled transatlantic services with a low cost carrier. flyglobespan will operate three services a week from Ireland West Airport Knock, to JFK Airport New York, commencing on May 27th, 2007 and two services weekly to Boston Logan International Airport, commencing on May 30th 2007. Seat fares on the transatlantic flights from Ireland West Airport Knock will start at just €157 plus tax each way.
The introduction of the new routes addresses the strong market demand for transatlantic flights to, and from, Ireland West Airport Knock and will realise enormous benefits to the business and tourism sectors as well as to the general public in the west, North West and midlands region. The transatlantic flights have the potential to bring up to 35,000 US tourists and an estimated €28 million spending boost to the region in 2007 and this is expected to grow to over 56,000 US tourists with an estimated spend of up to €45 million by 2008.
Speaking at the announcement event held at the Airport today, the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr. Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., said: “21 years ago, many people laughed at the idea of building an international airport in rural West of Ireland because it went against the accepted theory of providing services first in urban areas with higher populations. However, Ireland West Airport Knock is a classic illustration of an alternative theory I have promoted for years; that if we provide services in rural areas, they become more attractive to live in, population levels rise, demand for the services grow, and the pressures on our urban centres stabilise.”
The Minister continued: “I firmly believe that Government investment in enterprises such as this is leading the way and that our society is beginning to realise that we can provide much more efficient and cost-effective infrastructure, services and employment in our rural areas. Ireland West Airport Knock, which has gone from strength to strength over the last 21 years, is a shining example of the resourcefulness, foresight and business acumen of our rurally based population. With today`s announcement of their new transatlantic service, the Board and management of Ireland West Airport Knock are to be commended for providing another essential service for all the people of the West of Ireland."
Commenting on the proposed new services, Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen TD said: “The Government’s air services strategy promotes competitiveness, flexibility, consumer choice and diversity of product to satisfy different consumer needs. I am very pleased that flyglobespan will be bringing new competition into the market place and introducing choice for the Irish passenger. It is a positive development that residents in the west of Ireland will be able to fly to New York and Boston from County Mayo. This presents a great opportunity to grow tourism and exploit business opportunities for the benefit of the BMW region.”
Speaking at the event, Chairman of Ireland West Airport Knock, Joe Kennedy, said: “This announcement marks a significant milestone in the State’s 49 Year Transatlantic, and the Airport’s 21 Year, aviation history and is a huge boost for the West, North West and Midlands region. I want to thank members of our Board, the Airport’s management and marketing team and the scores of people on both sides of the Atlantic who have worked tirelessly together and overcome many challenges to achieve this historic development. I also thank our Government, Minister Ó Cuív, and Minister Cullen and his department for lending their support to enable our Airport and flyglobespan to operate these services.”
Chairman of flyglobespan, Mr. Tom Dalrymple stated:“I am delighted we can launch these services from Ireland West Airport Knock and give the local population the chance to visit two of the world’s most exciting cities at such fantastic prices. The hereditary and cultural ties between the north east cost of America and the West of Ireland are very strong and we expect there to be a similarly big demand for seats out from the States and into Ireland West Knock. These new routes are part of daily services we are introducing between Liverpool and JFK and Glasgow and Boston. They have been attracting considerable interest from both sides of the Atlantic since they went on sale and we expect a similarly favourable response from these additional services.”
Managing Director of Ireland West Airport, Liam Scollan said: : “I’m delighted to welcome flyglobespan to our Airport and I commend especially its Chairman, Tom Dalrymple, for having the courage and entrepreneurship to break new ground and operate these services out of our region in what is a very competitive global marketplace. Our staff looks forward to working closely with the flyglobespan team, business interests and tourism partners to ensure the success of these new services. These transatlantic services will connect neighbours, friends and relatives that have long been separated by a century of emigration from this region to the United States. They will put the west and north west of Ireland into the heart of the tourist trail for Americans who love Ireland and especially the West, while bringing the highly popular Big Apple and Boston cities within easy low fares reach for the people of the West of Ireland who fancy a visit. The introduction of this service will also improve job prospects in Ireland by strengthening the connection between the many US multinationals and businesses in the region with the huge American marketplace.
On the Irish side, there is a long roll of honour of people who in many ways made this happen. This was a collaborative effort from our airport staff, diplomatic circles, from tourism and transport interests and the Government and all those who could see the importance of the US link to Ireland West Airport. Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, at both regional and national level, were instrumental in their support. Singled out for mention is Ray McSharry, former Government Minister and European Commissioner who worked closely with the Airport in the final stages of the project.”
In his speech, Joe Kennedy paid a special tribute to the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. “We met Mayor Bloomberg on his visit to Ireland on 22nd August 2006, when he was invited to Ireland by John Perry TD who arranged the introduction and whose support we are most grateful for. We informed the Mayor of our aspirations to start services to the United States. He agreed to help. By December 2006, he had delivered on his promise in dramatic fashion when flyglobespan won approval from the US Authorities for flights to operate via Ireland West Knock to the US. He was ably supported in his endeavour by Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs Kevin Sheekey and Adrian Flannelly, Irish Liaison for the Mayor, a highly respected and influential Irish American in New York who helped convey the strengths of Ireland West Airport Knock and the importance of direct services into the west of Ireland to the Mayor.”
In a supporting statement, Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg said: “For centuries, New York City and Ireland have shared a strong bond, and we have had the good fortune to be the island’s 33rd County. Starting this May, we will grow even closer with the start of three weekly flights between Ireland West Airport Knock and the international airport in New York City named for John F. Kennedy, whose great grandparents left Ireland during the Great Hunger. Not only will these flights make it easier for Americans to get to the west of Ireland, it will enable even more Irish residents to visit New York. Thanks to the hard work of scores of people on both sides of the Atlantic, including Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs Kevin Sheekey, as well as my good friend Adrian Flannelly, we were able to secure these important routes – and I look forward to landing on the runway myself next week.”
Congratulating Ireland West Airport Knock and everyone concerned in securing the flights, Paul O’Toole, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland said that the new services were a huge vote of confidence in the region. “They will substantially expand air travel options for potential tourists and open up Ireland’s Western Regions even more as a holiday destination to the lucrative North American market. Tourism Ireland will work closely with flyglobespan, Ireland West Airport Knock and the industry both in Ireland and in the United States, to promote and maximise the inbound tourism potential presented by these new transatlantic routes.”
Welcoming the new route, Gillian Buckley, Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission said: "This is a significant milestone for Ireland West Airport Knock and for the development of the Western Region, both economically and socially. The new flights will enable the West of Ireland to build even stronger links with the US, which is a very important source of employment for both industry and tourism in the region.”
Monsignor Joseph Quinn from Knock Shrine, speaking at the event said: “This realizes a key part of the original vision for the Airport which was to serve pilgrims worldwide. This announcement has huge potential to attract more pilgrims from the United States to Knock Shrine and to the many religious and Christian heritage sites throughout the west of Ireland.”
Low cost fares and a quality tailor-made service!
Flights to JFK will depart from Ireland West Knock on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 14:30, while flights from JFK will arrive into Ireland West Knock at 07:20 hours on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays. Flights to Boston will depart Ireland West Knock on Wednesdays and Sundays at 16:30, while flights from Boston will arrive at 07:45 hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Detailing the new services, Ireland West Airport Knock’s Marketing Manager, Annette Kearney said “flyglobespan are introducing a super new service to the general public and to businesses in our region. They offer low fares and a high quality service. Not only can our customers have the convenience of flying direct to New York and Boston from our Airport with our low cost parking of just €22 per week, but they can do so tailored to their own requirements and price range. They can enjoy gourmet meals served with fine wines which can be pre-selected when booking on flyglobespan.com or at their local travel agent, prior to departure. Premier economy passengers can enjoy complimentary meals and in-flight entertainment while economy passengers can pre-book and pay for their in flight entertainment and meals. Jointly, we aim to deliver what our US market and our region demands and we are optimistic that we will continue to have the support of our customers, tourism industry and business partners in ensuring this will be a successful venture for all long into the future.”
For further information on flights to and from Ireland West Airport Knock, please log on to
www.irelandwestairport.com or contact flyglobespan at + (0)1 874 7666 or website www.flyglobespan.com or ask your local travel agent.