The inaugeral flight from this airport departed on October 24th 1985, in the form of three Aer Lingus charter flights to Rome. The airport was officially opened on May 30th 1986. In the intervening years it has been known as Knock International Airport, Connacht Regional Airport, and Horan International Airport. Subsequently referred to as Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK), this thriving, modern airport serves communities throughout the west, north and midlands of Ireland, with its popularity and usage going from strength to strength.
The airport was the brainchild of Monsignor James Horan, Parish Priest of Knock, 1967 - 1986. Often referred to as the 'Builder of Knock', he was a dynamic man who had immense foresight and worked tirelessly to improve the facilities in Knock for pilgrims and parishioners alike. Msgr Horan knew that an International airport in the west of Ireland would be a catalyst for the development of industry and tourism. Despite widespread opposition and bureaucratic resistance, his persistent campaigning paid off, resulting in the multi-million pound airport that turned his vision into a reality.
With the rapid growth and development at the airport and the ever expanding range of flights to the UK and Europe, passenger numbers are growing year after year. Ireland West Airport Knock is the preferred airport within a broad catchment area due to the choice and value the airport offers. The airport now serves more than 20 scheduled and charter destinations across Ireland, the UK, Europe and beyond. As Ireland’s fourth international airport, IWAK offers first class travel and tourism opportunities with regular connections to and from global destinations, from the west of Ireland.
IATA Code - NOC
Elevation - 665 feet above sea level
Passenger statistics 2011 - 654,553
Airport Operating Company - Connaught Airport Development Company Ltd
Car Parking - 1,500+ car parking spaces for short-term and long-term parking
Taxis - Comprehensive fleet of taxi-cabs, licensed by IWAK, available outside terminal building or can be pre-booked. These provide services to/from the airport to destinations around the region, complementing bus and rail transportation
Car Hire - car hire services are provided at the airport by a number of internationally recognised car hire firms
Airport Shopping - Retail shopping area 350sq metres+, stocks many well known brands, providing the ideal shopping experience
Wi-Fi - Free high speed wireless broadband access for all visitors and passengers in the terminal building
Road - conveniently located on the main N17 North - South road, halfway between Galway and Sligo. It is also close to the junction of the East - West N5 Westport-Castlebar-Longford road
Bus - Bus Éireann provide a number of services to and from the airport
Train - the nearest railway station is Ballyhaunis, accessible by airport cabs or bus services
The airport has been the recipient of a number of important awards in recent years:
Best Regional Airport 2005 & 2006 (Ireland Chamber of Commerce Awards)
Federation Aeronautique Internationale Honorary Group Diploma 2007 (National Aero Club of Ireland)
Chamber Recognition for Industry 2008 (Mayo Business Awards)
Irish folk singer-songwriter Christy Moore wrote and recorded the "Knock Song", a comic Irish folk tune about the construction of Knock airport. The musical "On a Wing and a Prayer" which premiered in the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, on November 25th 2010, deals with the life and times of Monsignor James Horan, focusing on his onerous uphill struggle to get the airport built.