THERE was disappointing news for Cork Airport this week as the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) revealed passenger figures for 2015.
The figures showed that while the IAA handled over 1 million flights in 2015, passenger numbers for Cork were likely to be down 9% by year’s end, compared with the 2014 figures.
Shannon figures fell even more sharply, falling by a predicted 13% on the previous year.
Overall, traffic in Irish airspace will have grown by 5% in 2015, driven by a 10% increase at Dublin Airport and nearly 5% growth in en route traffic (flights which pass through Irish airspace).
Eamonn Brennan, IAA chief executive, said that while 2015 was a landmark year for the Irish aviation industry with a dramatic increase in air traffic at Dublin, recent announcements at Cork and Shannon should lead to an improvement next year.
‘Dublin Airport is now operating at 2008 levels and there is now a pressing need to construct a new parallel runway at Dublin airport as soon as possible,’ Mr Brennan said, adding: ‘Looking back, 2015 was full of milestones for the Irish aviation industry, including the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG and the continued expansion of Ryanair, who will carry over 104 million passengers.’
The low US dollar exchange rate is supporting strong demand for transatlantic services to Europe, he added, which Ireland benefits from.
In relation to international arrivals and departures, the commercial terminal traffic for Shannon, Dublin and Cork airports was up by +7.3% in November. Individually, commercial terminal flights at Cork were down 1.3% in November, while commercial terminal flights at Shannon were down 9.2%.
Meanwhile, Cork Airport is gearing up for one of the busiest times of year as it gets set to welcome over 100,000 passengers on 700 flights this festive season. The terminal has been given a seasonal makeover to ensure that those arriving at Cork Airport are greeted with a traditional festive welcome.
‘Christmas is the most exciting and special time of year at the airport. It’s magical to see so many people welcoming family and friends home, or to see the excitement for those travelling abroad to be reunited with loved ones.’ said Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport.