Ireland West Airport saw highest ever passenger numbers in 2018

An extra 21,600 people used the airport to travel to and from the UK

Ireland West Airport saw highest ever passenger numbers in 2018

Image via @Irelandwest on Twitter

New figures show Ireland West Airport recorded its highest ever passenger numbers last year.

More than 770,000 passengers used the airport in 2018 - surpassing its previous record of 750,000 for 2017.

The passenger numbers represent the third consecutive year of record passenger growth at the airport.

The airport serves 23 International destinations with services from three of Europe's major International airlines: Aer Lingus, Flybe and Ryanair.

The airport says despite ongoing concerns over Brexit, the growth in passenger numbers was "fuelled by a very strong performance across the range of UK services available at the airport".

An extra 21,600 passengers travelling to and from the UK used the airport last year - a 3% increase on 2017.

Passenger numbers using Flybe's services to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester reached record levels, while over 82,000 passengers travelled on the London Gatwick route with Aer Lingus.

And Ryanair recorded its busiest ever year for passenger numbers using its Bristol service.

€15m investment programme

Services to continental and mainland Europe also performed strongly - with over 110,000 passengers taking flights to a range of European destinations.

2018 was also a memorable year, as the airport welcomed Pope Francis for his visit in August.

The airport also began a €15m investment programme, aimed at transforming and modernizing it.

Commenting on its performance, chairman Arthur French said: "We are delighted to have had a record year in 2018 with passenger numbers reaching over 771,000 for the first time in the airports history which is good news for the regional economy, for tourism, and for job creation, both at the airport and in the wider economy.

"This is the third successive year of growth at the airport with almost 100,000 extra passengers using the facility since 2015".

While 2019 is forecast to be another record year, boosted by a recent announcement of a twice-weekly service to Cologne with Ryanair, which will commence in June.

Work will also begin on the rehabilitation of the airport's 2,400 metre runway in May.

In contrast, Dublin Airport had seen 30 million passengers pass through it by mid-December 2018.

This was the first time in Dublin Airport’s 78-year history that more than 30 million passengers used it in a single year.