Flybe, Europe's largest independent regional airline, celebrated a special homecoming at Ireland West Airport Knock as 22 year-old Flybe First Officer Callum O'Donnell realised his childhood dream of flying into his family's local airport at the controls of a Flybe Q400 that is now operating the airline's new route from Birmingham.
Callum, whose family hails from County Mayo, was greeted as he disembarked from the aircraft by his aunt, Phil Burke and Managing Director of Ireland West Airport Knock Joe Gilmore.
As a child, he had regularly travelled on the route when visiting during summer holidays, vowing to become a pilot so he could one day fly an aircraft into the airport himself. He said: "When I was a boy travelling to visit my mother's family in Mayo, I always dreamed of being in the cockpit flying the plane myself. It's been a truly emotional experience to have realised my childhood dream today on Flybe's Birmingham to Knock route. I was so happy that some of my family were there to witness this moment. It was a special seasonal homecoming, just before the end of 'The Gathering' in Ireland this year."
Mr Gilmore added: "We were thrilled to welcome Callum on his maiden flight into the airport. It was great to reunite him with his auntie who hails from Westport and it was great to hear him recount stories of flying in from the UK as a young child to visit his relatives in Mayo and how today was a dream come true for him to be in the cockpit flying the plane himself. Coming up to Christmas, it's a real lovely story."
Flybe operates four flights a week between Birmingham and Knock with one way fares from £39.99 (€49) including taxes and airport charges.