The company that operates Ireland West Airport Knock is forecasting more than a four-fold increase in revenues this year to €17m, with the airport aiming to achieve close to a breakeven position after two years of Covid-19 related losses.

This follows the firm behind the airport, Connaught Airport Development Company Ltd, confirming in new accounts that it lost over 1.3m passenger journeys and revenue of up to €25m during the Covid-impacted 2021 and 2020.

The directors say that the airport is forecasting that passenger numbers for 2022 will continue to recover and achieve numbers close to 710,000 for the year - a four-fold increase on 2021.

The directors state that the group last year recorded a pre-tax loss of €3.28m prior to the receipt of €1m operational funding, €900,000 in Covid-19 funding from the Department of Transport and €1.2m under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and restart grant.

The airport group's revenues last year totalled €3.8m which was 30% higher than 2020 due to a 22% increase in passenger numbers to 174,464, but 74% down on pre-Covid 19 revenues and 79% down on the record high 807,000 in passenger numbers in 2019.

The airport firm's profit and loss account show that after the various grants are taken into account, the company recorded a pre-tax loss of €179,875 last year.

The company's pre-tax loss also takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €2.58m.

Numbers employed by the airport firm last year decreased from 73 to 58 as staff costs reduced from €3.2m to €2.87m. The 58 compares to pre-Covid employee numbers of 147.

The directors state that HR costs were reduced by a further 34% in 2021 and were 70% lower than 2019.

They say that an additional 17% reduction in total operating costs was recorded in 2021, down 57% in total from pre-Covid levels.

Directors’ pay last year decreased from €183,127 to €176,213.

The directors say that last year the airport "continued to be severely impacted by the consequences" of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airport was closed last year for a six-month period between January 4th and July 18th.

The directors state that on reopening, Ryanair operated around 60% of its normal flight schedule whilst Aer Lingus did not return until December.

However, travel demand increased significantly in August following the relaxation of travel restrictions and passenger numbers recovered strongly up to December.

On the principal risks facing the company, the directors state that they note the reliance on a limited number of airlines for the passenger traffic in the current economic climate.

A breakdown of the firm’s revenues show that it recorded aeronautical revenues of €1.82m, commercial revenues of €1.97m and 'other sales’ of €97,500.

The directors state that this year the airport is striving to maintain its existing international route network and establish additional access into the mainland European markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands.

At the end of last year, the airport firm had shareholder funds of €8.25m that included accumulated profits of €4.39m.