Aer Lingus has announced that it will operate a new route, flying passengers between Knock Airport and London's Heathrow Airport.
The new service will commence from March 26th.
The airline said that in operating the new route, it aims to "support connectivity for the West and boost the local economy and tourism".
With a number of significant 'discovery points' along the Wild Atlantic Wild within close proximity to the airport, the new route will act as a gateway for tourists to the west of Ireland, the airline noted.
Passenger numbers at Knock Airport saw a yearly boost of 314 per cent in 2022. The majority of visitors to Ireland are from great Britain (42 per cent) and the US (15 per cent).
The new route will replace Aer Lingus' existing Knock to London Gatwick service.
Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Joe Gilmore welcomed news of the new route.
"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.”
Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Aer Lingus, Reid Moody, said that the new route will drive inbound tourism to the west of Ireland, at a time when interest in the region is spiking thanks to major Hollywood films such at The Banshees of Inisherin.
“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," he said.