We were delighted to be at Waterford Airport’s press briefing for the year ahead and hear the news concerning new routes from the airport.

The four times a week, all year round connection to the Dutch city of Amsterdam starting in May will link Waterford with one of the busiest airports in Europe opening up connections worldwide from, not just Europe, but also the USA, South America and Asia. There are over 200 onward routes from Schiphol, the Amsterdam airport.

Amsterdam is also within two-three hours by train to Paris and Brussels, so the options for rail connections are also excellent from this travel hub that is one of the cross roads of Europe. Amsterdam is also a popular weekend destination and also opens up the possibility of Dutch visitors coming to Waterford and the South East for short breaks.

Airport Chairman Nicky Fewer is very excited by this development and spoke

most optimistically of the airport’s future. He has put great effort into it from a time when there were no scheduled services. Aer Arann are now operating out of Waterford for five years and, with connections to Luton, Manchester and Birmingham, it has the English urban centres well covered. Manchester has great rail connections to the North and Luton is just an hour from London.

These airports have also good flight connections especially to Europe and beyond. Business users are taking the Silver Jet to Newark, New Jersey, in the USA and Manchester has over 100 routes to Europe the US and beyond.

Regarding the runway extension, there is no new update on a start for this project but the paper work, we understand, is proceeding and there is hope of an announcement soon on this matter. Already the airport road is being widened.

It is all good news for Waterford Airport. Outbound holiday makers will have the choice of three destinations this summer as they did last year, Malaga, Spain; Faro, Portugal and Bordeaux in South West France.

These routes proved more than successful last year and will now run late into October this time around from early May, said Fergal Barry of Aer Arann, speaking to the Munster Express. The hassles and car park expenses of Dublin Airport means families are using the local option, even if the fare is a little higher and they are also supporting their local airport. Long may this continue. Many of the flights can also be booked on the Aer Arann website.

The airport management and directors are to be congratulated for their hard work and we in the Munster Express, who are long supporters of the airport, are delighted to see this facility bear fruit. However, more marketing will be needed in the coming years to boost traffic.

As Chairman Nicky Fewer put it, the future targets ‘will be strong and 500,000 annual passengers could be achieved in the next five years’. He reckoned that Waterford is Ireland’s fastest growing airport in passenger terms and they thank the public for their support on the matter.