Joe Gilmore, Managing director at Ireland West Airport, Knock, Co Mayo, says in the region of 7,000 people from the Longford area use the airport annually.
As of Monday, March 30, airport operations will be temporarily suspended until further notice.
Like all airports, Ireland West Airport is experiencing an unprecedented reduction in customer demand for air travel due to the impact of COVID-19 virus.
At present the airport is open & all flights are operating as normal as the team at Knock continue to help airlines get Irish citizens & those from overseas back home. However, passenger numbers have decreased so significantly in recent days that they have had to begin to scale back passenger operations at the airport.
Joe Gilmore, Managing Director Ireland West Airport stated: "We have been advised by our airline partners that as of Tuesday 23rd March at midnight, Ryanair will suspend all flights to and from the airport and as of Sunday 29th March, Aer Lingus will suspend their London Gatwick service to and from the airport due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Following this confirmation from our airline partners, as of Monday 30th March, airport operations will be temporarily suspended until further notice.
"Due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision of the airlines to temporarily suspend passenger flights, it is with regret that we have had to place staff on temporary lay-off from Monday 30th March in order to safeguard the long term future of the airport and the health and welfare of our staff. We anticipate that this ‘lay off’ will be a short-term measure and that business can resume as soon as possible.
"In what has been and continues to be an unprecedented time for our business and indeed the majority of businesses on a global scale I wish to thank our customers, airlines, airport business partners and stakeholders for their ongoing support and in particular our own fantastic staff here at the airport for their ongoing commitment and support during this global crisis. The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging in the airports history and our staff have gone above and beyond their duty in assisting anxious passengers, providing travel advice and keeping the airport fully operational.
"We are confident that we can overcome this crisis and that both the airport and region will come back stronger than ever with the support from our communities both here and abroad." he concluded.