FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG MARKS FIRST DIRECT FLIGHTS BETWEEN WEST AND NORTHWEST IRELAND AND NEW YORK WITH TRIP TO IRELAND WEST AIRPORT KNOCK
Following Mayor's Request of U.S. Department of Transportation, Three Flights Will Operate Weekly Between Ireland West Knock and JFK Starting This May
Mayor Unveils NYC & Company's Ireland Advertising Campaign Urging Irish Residents to Visit New York and "Shop While the Dollar Drops"
Flights Will More Tightly Link City and Ireland, Improve Access to and From the West of Ireland, and Boost Tourism in New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today celebrated the securing of the first direct flights between the United States and Ireland West Airport Knock at a ceremony at the airport in County Mayo, Ireland. Beginning on May 27, three weekly flights operated by the low-cost airline Flyglobespan will run between John F. Kennedy International 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 after Mayor Bloomberg lobbied the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve the routes. While flight are added to West Ireland Knock, NYC & Company, the City's tourism board, will launch a $100,000 advertising campaign in and around Dublin urging Irish residents to take advantage of favorable exchange rates by visiting New York. Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Food Mary Coughlan T.D., Dáil Member John Perry, Airport Chairman Joe Kennedy, Airport Managing Director Liam Scollan, and the Mayor's newly-appointed Irish Cultural Liaison Adrian Flannelly also attended the announcement.
"When I last visited this picturesque corner of Ireland, I learned what a great opportunity we had to establish a direct route between Ireland West Knock an the United States - which I why one of my first tasks upon returning to the States was to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve this vital connection between our countries," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Not only will these routes strengthen cultural and familial bonds between the City and Ireland, they will be a boost for our tourism industry. Once these flights begin in May, they will be another way for Irish residents to come to New York to visit family, sightsee, or 'shop while the dollar drops.' I thank Congressman Peter King, Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs Kevin Sheekey, and my new Irish Cultural Liaison Adrian Flannelly, who were all instrumental in the approval of the routes."
Last August, the Mayor visited northwest Ireland to dedicate a memorial to the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment of New York 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 Kennedy and other airport officials. They asked the Mayor for assistance in securing direct routes to the United States. At the urging of Mayor Bloomberg and Congressman King, the routes were approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"The airport in Knock has grown to such an extent over the past 21 years that it is now the first choice airport for people throughout the west and northwest," said Minister Coughlan, who will make an official visit to New York next month for St. Patrick's Day celebrations. "The addition of direct flights to the United States is a major achievement for its board, management and staff, and one that will open up many new opportunities for tourism and business in the region. Mayor Bloomberg has had a pivotal role to play and I wish to acknowledge the support he has shown to developing the already strong links between the west of Ireland and his own city of New York."
"Once again, we are delighted to welcome Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Ireland West Airport Knock," said Airport Chairman Kennedy. "I take this occasion to formally thank him on behalf of the Board, the management and the staff of Ireland West Airport for the highly significant and influential role he has played in securing support of the Flyglobespan service into the United States at the end of May this year. Mayor Bloomberg has performed a great service for the people of Ireland. As a result of his involvement, he has also given the opportunity for Irish people to enjoy the delights of New York and visit our many friends, neighbors and relatives living here."
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.
New Tourism Advertising Campaign in Ireland
"Ireland has quickly developed into one of the fastest growing visitor markets for New York City," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. "Since 2000, travel from Ireland to the City has grown 146% and our forecasts indicate continued growth in 2007. We are excited to further realize the potential of this market with new transatlantic flights and the rollout next week of OPEN/BOOK, a campaign promoting the favorable prices and availabilities of the traditionally slower holiday hotel season to potential Irish visitors."
In December, following a successful NYC OPEN/BOOK advertising campaign in the London Underground, the Mayor announced that the promotion would expand into Ireland, Italy, and Spain. In addition to the advertising, the City will offer airline and hotel packages through tour providers in Ireland, where NYC & Company opened its first tourism office in June 2006 in Dublin.
Stu Loeser/Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
Kimberly Spell (NYC & Company)
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