More UK visitors are expected in Donegal this year, thanks to Flybe's introduction of flights from Birmingham and Edinburgh to Ireland West Airport, Knock.
The company, which is Europe’s largest independent regional airline, says the new services will provide 70,000 new seats to and from Knock this year.
There will be six weekly flights to both Birmingham and Edinburgh, operating every day except Saturday.
This expansion of Flybe services represents the biggest seat capacity announcement for the West and North West in 2016, which will come as welcome news for leisure, business and tourism interests in the region.
Edinburgh and Birmingham have long been popular destinations for passengers in this region, a company spokesperson said. The routes are expected to generate strong inbound tourism numbers given the airport's location as the central gateway for the Wild Atlantic Way.
In a further boost, the airline is also increasing flights to and from its Manchester hub, adding an additional 8,000 seats this summer. There's now a choice of up to six weekly flights from which passengers can connect seamlessly to further Flybe destinations or to the many others offered through Manchester with its interline partners.
Welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “The new Flybe flights from Edinburgh and Birmingham, and the expansion of services from Manchester, is more good news for tourism to the West and North West of Ireland in 2016, expanding travel options for British holidaymakers wishing to visit this part of Ireland.
“We look forward to working closely with Flybe and Ireland West Airport to maximise the promotion of the new services. As an island destination, the importance of convenient, direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated – they are absolutely critical to achieving growth in inbound tourism.”
Ireland West Airport MD Joe Gilmore added, “We are delighted to welcome the launch of these two new services to key UK markets in Birmingham and Edinburgh with Flybe.
“This further cements the airport's position as the premier UK gateway for the West of Ireland as we now service nine different access points, the biggest selection of UK services from the West and North West of Ireland.”