Ireland West Airport has said that 2018 has proven to be its busiest year on record with passenger numbers climbing to more than 770,000 for the first time in the airport's history.
The passenger figures represent the third consecutive year of record passenger growth at the airport.
In 2018 771,619 passengers used the airport which represented an increase of 3% on the previous record year in 2017.
Despite the ongoing concerns over Brexit, the growth in passenger numbers in 2018 was fuelled by a very strong performance from its UK services. They reported an extra 21,600 passengers travelling to and from the UK, which represented a 3% increase on 2017 numbers.
Passenger numbers using Flybe's services to Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester reached record levels whilst over 82,000 passengers travelled on the London Gatwick service with Aer Lingus - the highest number of passengers using their service since the route started in 2009. In addition, Ryanair recorded its busiest ever year for passenger numbers using its Bristol service in 2018.
Services to Continental and Mainland Europe continued to perform strongly with more than 110,000 passengers availing of flights to a range of European destinations such as Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Lanzarote, Milan, Tenerife and the Costa Dorada and Palma services with TUI Holidays.
Arthur French, Chairman of Ireland West Airport, 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. I would like to express our continued thanks to our customers, airline and tour operator partners, stakeholders, tourism groups, local authorities and Govt representatives for their ongoing support in helping us to continue to grow passenger numbers and develop international connectivity for the region.
"I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the staff at the airport for their hard work and continued focus on ensuring the customer and passenger experience through the airport is both a safe and welcoming one in light of what was very challenging weather conditions in 2018. We look forward to another strong year in 2019."