FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES FIRST DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN IRELAND WEST AIRPORT KNOCK IN COUNTY MAYO AND JFK
Mayor to Travel to Ireland West Knock on Sunday, February 4 to Celebrate New Transatlantic Flights
Flights Will More Tightly Link City and Ireland, Improve Access to and From the West of Ireland and Help Boost Tourism in New York
Mayor Bloomberg today announced the first direct flights between the United States and Ireland West Airport Knock in County Mayo, Ireland. Beginning on May 27, three weekly flights operated by the low-cost airline Flyglobespan will run between John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens and Ireland West Knock, opening access to the western counties of Ireland and helping to boost Irish tourism in New York City. The announcement comes as a result of Mayor Bloomberg's last visit to Ireland in August, when he promised to lobby the Federal government to approve flights between Ireland West Knock and the United States. Now that the routes have been approved, the Mayor will return to Ireland West Knock on Sunday, February 4, to celebrate this landmark achievement with local leaders and community members.
"For centuries, New York City and Ireland have shared a strong bond, and we have had the good fortune to be the island's 33rd County," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Beginning this May, we will grow even closer with the start of three weekly flights between Ireland West Airport Knock and the international airport in New York City named for John F. Kennedy, whose great grandparents left Ireland during the Great Hunger. Not only will these flights make it easier for Americans to get to the west of Ireland, it will enable even more Irish residents to visit New York. Thanks to the hard work of scores of people on both sides of the Atlantic, including Congressman Peter King, Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs Kevin Sheekey, as well as my good friend Adrian Flannelly, we were able to secure these important routes - and I look forward to landing on the runway myself next week."
"Like many Irish people, I have personal family ties with New York, as my grandfather Éamon de Valera was born there in 1882," said Éamon Ó Cuív, Ireland's Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. "I know that these new flights will be heartily welcomed by the people of the West of Ireland in particular, as a modern link between Ireland and New York. I have no doubt that many New Yorkers will take the opportunity to renew their links with the places and people of their ancestry and both they and Mayor Bloomberg can be assured of a very warm Céad Míle Fáilte upon their arrival."
Last August, the Mayor visited northwest Ireland to dedicate a memorial to the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard in Ballymote, County Sligo. He also delivered a speech to local business leaders in the City of Sligo. In traveling to Sligo, the Mayor landed at Ireland West Knock, where he met with Airport Chairman Joe Kennedy and other airport officials. They asked the Mayor for assistance in securing direct routes to the United States. After lobbying from Mayor Bloomberg and Congressman King, the routes were approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"Most of the massive emigration from Ireland to the United States for over one and a half centuries came from the counties along our western seaboard where Ireland West Airport is situated. These have led to enormous cultural, social and economic links between the West of Ireland and New York. I want to pay special tribute to Mayor Bloomberg without whom this first ever scheduled service between our west of Ireland Airport and New York could not have happened," said Chairman Kennedy. "He was ably supported in his endeavor by Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey and Adrian Flannelly, the Mayor's friend who helped convey the strengths of Ireland West Airport and the importance of direct services into the west of Ireland to the Mayor."
Flyglobespan, a Scotland-based low-cost carrier, will operate three flights per week between Ireland West Knock and JFK, along with two flights weekly to Boston's Logan Airport. Currently, direct flights from Ireland to the United States are only operated out of Shannon in southwest Ireland, Dublin on its east coast, as well as from Belfast in Northern Ireland. All are several hours drive from towns in northwest Ireland. The flights will make Flyglobespan the first low-cost carrier to operate transatlantic flights from any airport in Ireland. Flights to JFK will depart from Ireland West Knock on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2:30 PM local time, arriving at JFK at 6:00 PM. Flights from JFK will depart at 8:00 PM and arrive into Ireland West Knock at 7:20 AM on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays. Fares on the flights will start at $259 including tax each way.
The new flights coincide with an expansion of the City's international marketing campaign, NYC OPEN/BOOK, into Ireland, where NYC & Company opened its first office last year. Already rolled out in the United Kingdom, the advertising and publicity campaign lures potential visitors to New York with hotel and airline discounts during days of the year that are traditionally slower for the City's tourism industry. Based on the campaign's success in Britain, NYC & Company is launching its second phase in Ireland, Italy, and Spain in the coming months. NYC & Company opened its first Ireland tourism office in June 2006 in Dublin.
Mayor's Trip to Ireland:
Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958