Aer Lingus has announced a new route from Ireland West Airport Knock to London Heathrow, which aims to support connectivity for the West and boost the local economy and tourism. The new Aer Lingus service will commence on 26th March 2023 and operate daily.
While customers from the West of Ireland can avail of 15 direct Aer Lingus North American routes from Dublin and Shannon Airports, this London Heathrow service will enable them to connect to destinations right across the globe via the UK’s largest and busiest airport.
The majority of visitors to Ireland are from Great Britain (42%), followed by the US (15%), and this new route aims to boost direct and connecting inbound tourism to the West. Aer Lingus aims to take advantage of the growing trend of screen tourism, which Tourism Ireland has identified as a key opportunity for 2023, with films like the Banshees of Inisherin showcasing the West of Ireland to a global audience. Ireland West Airport is also a gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way, with nine of the fifteen signature discovery points located within a 60-80 minute drive from the airport.
Today’s announcement reinforces Aer Lingus’s commitment to Ireland West Airport Knock, as the airport continues to rebound after Covid, with passenger numbers increasing by 314% last year, reaching 89% of the record-breaking year of 2019.
The new route will replace the current Aer Lingus service to London Gatwick, which will cease operations on 25th March 2023. Customers already booked on this route will be automatically rebooked on a same day flight.
Aer Lingus expects that the convenience of London Heathrow’s location will drive additional point-to-point demand and increased connecting traffic.
Reid Moody Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Aer Lingus said:
“Our new route from Knock to London Heathrow, accompanied with further network connectivity for our customers, is exciting for Aer Lingus and for the West of Ireland. With a direct service to one of Europe’s busiest airports, customers from the West will now be able to easily connect from Heathrow to destinations right across the globe. The service will also drive inbound tourism at a time when interest in visiting the West of Ireland is very high, with the Oscar nominated Banshees of Inisherin showcasing the beauty of the West of Ireland to millions of people globally.”
Welcoming the news, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director, Ireland West Airport commented:
“The airport is absolutely delighted to welcome today’s announcement of a new daily service to London Heathrow with Aer Lingus. This is a major development for the West and Northwest regions as it opens up key onward connectivity, through one of Europe’s biggest hubs, to over 80 destinations worldwide. The hub status of Heathrow for businesses to connect with the global marketplace is a potential game changer for this region, and from a tourism perspective the service will deliver a significant increase in tourism visits from all corners of the globe. I have no doubt the service will get huge support from the business community and leisure travellers both here and abroad and we thank Aer Lingus for this strong vote of confidence in the airport and West of Ireland region.”