Ireland West Airport Knock expects revenues to tumble by €11m this year and record losses of €4m due to the impact of Covid-19.

That is according to a spokesman for the airport, who confirmed that passenger numbers plummeted by 90% during the busy summer period due to the pandemic.

The spokesman was commenting on new accounts which show that pre-tax profits at the company that operates Ireland West Airport Knock last year declined by 11% to €1.846m, as the airport enjoyed record passenger figures.

The new accounts show that revenues at Connaught Airport Development Co Ltd last year increased by 2%, from €14.57m to €14.88m.

The directors state that the airport company's pre-tax profit for last year was €110,425 prior to receipt of operational funding from the Department of Transport.

The airport’s business this year has been devastated by Covid-19 and the airport has announced that it is to close for one month on 14 November, after Ryanair confirmed the temporary suspension of flights from the airport.

The airport already shut for 91 days during the first Covid lockdown earlier this year.

A spokesman for the Ireland West Airport-Knock stated today that the airport "will sustain record losses of over €4m in 2020 despite aggressive cost reduction measures across all areas of the business with revenues declining by over €11m".

He stated that "as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the stringent travel restrictions currently in place passenger numbers have collapsed by 90% over summer period". 

He stated that passenger forecast for 2020 is 145,000 passengers – a reduction of 82% on the 2019 total of 807,000.

The directors state that the passenger decline "will have a devastating impact on the hospitality and tourism industries in the west and north-west of Ireland".

The spokesman stated that the airport continues to respond to the impact of the virus and continues to implement cost cutting measures and to date have reduced the workforce by up to 70% with remaining staff on reduced three day working week.

He stated that to date 43 staff have been made redundant by the company with a number of additional staff on temporary layoff with a view to returning them to work once the business situation improves.

The directors' report states that staff costs at the airport during the pandemic have been supported by the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

They state total operating costs have been reduced by 40%.

The directors state that Covid has, and continues to have, a devastating effect on not just the airport but the entire aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors.

They state that they expect passenger numbers to return to pre-Covid levels in 2023 at the earliest.

The directors state that, prior to Covid, the airport was on course for another strong year in 2020 with passenger growth in the first two months.

The profit last year takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €2.6m. A breakdown of revenues show that, last year, the airport company recorded €7.5m in aeronautical revenues of €7.58m and €7.2m in commercial revenues.

Numbers employed increased from 143 to 147 as staff costs increased from €5.7m to €6.2m.

Shareholder funds at the company last year totalled €8.5m. The company’s cash pile reduced from €10.5m to €9.1m.