Cork Airport is of vital importance to the economy of Cork, both city and county. Not only for the tourism sector. A weaker accessibility would also be a reason for potential international investors to look elsewhere. The CBA strongly encourages the government to step in and support our airport and Ryanair to reconsider closing their Cork Airport base.
Several directors of the Cork Business Association have worked together with Cork Airport management for years and promoted and encouraged an increase in flights and traffic.
It took years and huge investments in time and money to build it up, we cannot let it be negatively affected this easily. If some of these routes are lost, it will take a while to get them back. If landing slots are found somewhere else, it is not guaranteed that they will return to Cork immediately after travel restrictions are lifted.
From a tourism and hospitality perspective, we cannot emphasis enough how critical is it that Cork Airport would be assisted in getting back to a reasonable level of business operations. The sheer magnitude felt by our industry as a direct result of the reduced operations within Cork Airport cannot, and must not be understated. Our industry’s survival is heavily dependent on the International tourist market for leisure guests, and even more so for our International corporate guests and conferencing business.
Trigon Hotels have 2 hotels located in the Cork Airport business park and as it currently stands, the Cork Airport Hotel is still closed with no definitive date of re-opening. This is as a direct result of the reduction of services at Cork Airport.
It is imperative that the Government acknowledges that Cork Airport directly and indirectly supports 12,180 jobs and contributes €904 million annually to the economy across the South of Ireland. With COVID-19 expected to reduce traffic by nearly 75% this year, the knock-on effects to the tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors are self-evident.
If Cork Airport are not provided with the assistance needed to open up the airways, the knock on effects from a financial perspective will be truly catastrophic and detrimental.
I would appeal to our Government to ensure that they have given this issue due consideration and ensure that Cork Airport is provided with the assistance and support needed to restore confidence in air travel to and from Ireland.
Aaron is Managing Director of the Trigon Hotel Group, Management Comittee member of the Irish Hotel Federation Cork and a valued member of the Cork Business Association executive committee
Management at Cork Airport has called a series of private briefings for Cork Oireachtas members on Monday the 14th of September to outline the scale of the threat it faces as a result of the COVID19 pandemic and in the wake of Ryanair’s threat to close its base
in Cork this winter unless the Government relaxes its quarantine restrictions on passengers flying into the country. If the threat is realised, 35 pilots and 95 cabin crew would be forced to take unpaid leave from the end of October.
The move would virtually wipe out Cork Airport’s already decimated passenger traffic which has plunged 95% during lockdown. Ryanair accounted for around 80% of the airport’s traffic during the coronavirus crisis — overtaking Aer Lingus
as the airport’s largest airline for the first time in the airport’s 59-year history last year.
“Cork Airport remained open throughout COVID 19 providing cover for vital air services to assist with the repatriation of Irish citizens stranded overseas and to make sure supply chains were maintained for the import and export of key supplies”,
according to Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director, Cork Airport. “The airport also played a key role in multiple Search and Rescue missions, Air Corps and Garda operations and Medical Evacuations,” he added.
“COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on Cork Airport’s finances. Passenger numbers have fallen by over 95% during lockdown compared to same period last year and are currently down by 86% compared to the same month last year. Our traffic
is not expected to recover to 2019 levels until 2024. The impact of COVID-19 on Cork Airport is expected to be the loss of over 2 million passengers this year and more than €23 million in lost revenues by year end,” said Niall MacCarthy.
“Cork Airport directly and indirectly supports 12,180 jobs and contributes €904 million annually to the economy across the South of Ireland. With COVID-19 expected to reduce traffic by nearly 75% this year, the knock-on effects to the tourism,
aviation and supply chain sectors are self-evident. Investment support for Cork Airport will be required and will assist and provide an excellent return on investment in terms of economic impact on the Cork and Munster economy,” MacCarthy added.
“Cork Airport faces some very significant capital investment costs of over €70m over the next 5 years. This programme is key to enabling the continued operations of Cork Airport including compliance expenditure on our Hold Baggage Screening
system and critical and necessary renewal costs for a runway overlay.
“We look forward with the appropriate policy and Government financial supports to returning our business to previous levels and again becoming a key economic enabler for tourism and inward investment across the south of Ireland, but first,
we believe, the Irish Government must map out a pathway to restore confidence in air travel to and from Ireland”.
Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport
Despite the challenges Cork Airport continues to provide it's passengers with the best possible service and received international accreditation for Covid-19 health measures.
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In the meantime there is still no clarity on where Irish people can travel and more important for business that people from other countries can travel to Ireland without having to quarantine.
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