• flighty
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    by flighty » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:15 pm

    Not entirely sure if this is the correct place to post this, so please feel free to move on if necessary.

    Its a fantastic oppurtunity for the airport and something that is along time overdue.

    Taken from Today's Independent:
    It's take-off as Knock lands first flights to the US

    A PLAN for Ireland's first low-cost transatlantic flights from Knock has been unveiled.

    Some two decades since Monsignor James Horan's vision for a truly international airport in Co Mayo was dismissed, the dream has finally taken wings across the Atlantic.

    Msgr Horan was the founder of Knock Airport, now officially called Ireland West Airport Knock.

    But critics and sceptics were confounded and 21 years later, the airport has truly come of age with the launch of three-times-a-week flights to JFK Airport in New York from May 27 and a twice-weekly service to Boston Logan International Airport from May 30.

    The flights, originating in Liverpool and Glasgow, are being provided by Scottish low-cost carrier Flyglobespan, which has signed a five-year contract with the west of Ireland airport.


    Return prices, including taxes, could cost as little as ?460, according to airport managing director Liam Scollan.

    It is estimated that the services have the potential to bring up to 35,000 US tourists and an estimated ?28m spending boost to the West and North West in the current year alone.

    According to Mr Scollan, this is expected to grow to more than 56,000 US tourists, with an estimated spend of up to ?45m by 2008.

    "We can see the floodgates opening. For 160 years, the largest emigration to the United States was from the west of Ireland so there are massive cultural and social links, particularly with the east coast of America.

    "And four-fifths of all the Irish that emigrated to the US came from counties of the West," he said.

    But unlike the past when no work made emigration a necessity and the ticket was usually one-way, today's traveller has a very different profile.

    Weekend shopping trips to New York and Boston and holidays in Cape Cod are more likely to be the order of the day, while many of those on inbound flights will have west of Ireland blood coursing through their veins.

    Tourism bodies have estimated the direct flights will boost spending in the West by up to ?45m by 2008.

    "These transatlantic services will connect neighbours, friends and relatives that have long been separated by a century of emigration from this region to the US," said Mr Scollan.

    They would also foster the growing business links with the US in the region.

    At yesterday's historic event, political, community, church and tourism leaders united to welcome what airport chairman Joe Kennedy described as a milestone in aviation history.

    Anita Guidera


    Mayor of '33rd county' had critical role in securing routes
    A POWER failure in New York City last July proved the unlikely catalyst for the new transatlantic flights to New York and Boston.

    After the breakdown in the city's power supply, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was forced to cancel a trip to Sligo to unveil a monument to the legendary Fighting 69th Regiment in Ballymote, Co Sligo.

    But determined not to give up, organiser Sligo/Leitrim TD John Perry (FG), rescheduled the event, proposing that the mayor perform the unveiling in a round trip, flying in and out of Ireland West Airport Knock, more commonly called Knock airport, instead of Dublin as originally planned.

    The mayor agreed and when he finally arrived last August he met with the board at the airport and committed to helping them in establishing the first transatlantic flights.

    Yesterday, Mr Perry described Mr Bloomberg's role as critical in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.

    "Within a month of returning to New York, he was as good as his word and had cleared the way with the New York port authorities for landing rights into JFK Airport.

    "It was absolutely going nowhere until Bloomberg intervened and he delivered entirely," he said.

    The New York mayor was so impressed with the west of Ireland, that he told Mr Perry in a personal letter that it was "the most memorable" of all his foreign trips during his term of office.

    And he also revealed that he would be touching down in Knock briefly again next Sunday on his return from a trip to Israel.

    In a written message delivered yesterday, Mayor of New York Mr Bloomberg said that, for centuries, New York City and Ireland had shared a strong bond, with New York having the good fortune to be the island's 33rd county.

    "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," he said.

    "I look forward to landing on the runway myself next week," he later added.
  • StephenM
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    by StephenM » Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:11 pm

    Great news for Knock and would be great to make use of over the summer!

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