How has Cork Airport recovered since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? We’ve had a really strong recovery at Cork Airport. In 2022, Cork Airport welcomed 2.24 million passengers, an 86% recovery on 2019 figures – the last equally comparable year prior to the pandemic. With the pent-up demand for international travel, coupled with a range of new route announcements from Ryanair and Aer Lingus Regional, Cork Airport expects to serve over 2.5 million passengers in 2023.
What do you feel is the greatest attraction of flying from Cork Airport? With car parking on the doorstep (all car parks are within a 10-minute walk of the terminal building), swift security queues (97% of passengers cleared security screening in 15 minutes or less in 2022) and a short walk to the departure gate, Cork Airport offers satisfyingly hassle-free and convenient travel.
Cork Airport’s location on the edge of the city, readily accessible through a good road network and offering over 44 routes, is now a really attractive offering for passengers from Limerick through to north Tipperary and south Leinster. What we find is that new passengers from Kildare, Kilkenny, and other south Leinster areas, once they experience our ease and convenience, they keep on using Cork Airport.
What is the biggest challenge currently facing Cork Airport? The biggest strategic challenge is establishing the business case for large-scale capital projects and funding these. Airports, like hotels, are capital and infrastructure investment hungry and making business cases stack up in an environment with higher interest rates is challenging.
Another key challenge is current labour market conditions in our region as a knock-on effect of the housing crisis. Labour shortages make recruitment for summer shift positions with nighttime working more challenging. We are, however, in a good position staffing wise for this summer having started our recruitment early.
What more could the Government do to support regional airports like Cork Airport? We’re calling on the Government to align the State aid rules for Irish airports with EU norms so that airports like Cork could benefit from continued Government investment in infrastructure projects, particularly in the safety, security and sustainability areas.
What sustainability measures have been taken at Cork Airport? Under our Government’s climate action plan, all publicly owned bodies are mandated to reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2030. Cork Airport expects to beat this target and reach the 2030 goal early by 2027 arising from a clear-planned programme of initiatives. Last year, Cork Airport was the best commercial semi-state organisation for energy reduction, as determined by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Cork Airport is currently at an advanced stage in the planning and development of a solar farm, which will supply a significant amount of the airport’s energy requirements into the future.
How many destinations are available this summer? This summer, Cork Airport will offer 44 routes to the UK and continental Europe. Eight scheduled airlines will operate services to and from Cork Airport this summer.
What is your favourite summer holiday destination from Cork Airport? For summer sun, it is hard to beat Malaga or the Canaries, especially Lanzarote. We had a great holiday a couple of years ago in Jerez de la Frontera, a couple of hours’ drive from Malaga and a brilliant destination at Easter for all of the parades and festivities. It is the original home of sherry apparently.
What is your favourite city break destination from Cork Airport? It has to be either London, Paris or Rome. All for different reasons. But if you’re tired of any of these cities, you’re tired of life.
What is the one thing you can’t fly without? In truth, headphones and podcasts and Spotify to pass the time on the plane.
Can you share a fun fact about Cork Airport? We’ve a statue of Jackie Charlton in the terminal and it never ceases to amaze someone of my generation, who remembers Italia ’90, that anyone under 35 hardly knows who Jackie Charlton is and doesn’t recognise him in the statue.