The west of Ireland gained its first direct link with London when the Ryanair 748 aircraft 'The Spirit of Monsignor Horan' landed in Knock Airport, heralding the start of a scheduled service.

Named after Monsignor James Horan, the visionary priest behind Knock Airport the 44 seat turbo-prop aircraft was formally blessed by Monsignor Horan’s successor Fr Dominick Grealy.

The first passengers to disembark included six year old Davinia Paul, who was heading to Boyle in County Roscommon for Christmas. The airport expects 2,500 passengers over the holiday period and Chief Executive of Ryanair Eugene O’Neill, is proud his company has established

The first ever scheduled service into a foreign international airport. We believe that the route itself has got extraordinary potential and is a direct gateway to the whole of the west of Ireland.

Minister for Defence and the Gaeltacht Paddy O’Toole commented on the potential for the development of a duty free zone at the airport.

An RTÉ News report by Jim Fahy broadcast on 16 December 1986.