CORK Airport has defended its plan to upgrade its runways, despite criticism from Ryanair.
The low-cost airline said this week that its base at the airport would not reopen until winter at the earliest, and blamed the airport decision to carry out work on its 2.1km long runway during September, October and November.
In response, a statement from Cork Airport management said it was ‘progressing at pace’ with its critical long-term capital infrastructure programme this year, given the decimating impact the Covid-19 global pandemic has had on the aviation industry.
‘With passenger numbers currently down 99%, it makes prudent business sense to fast-track major capital investment projects now, while the airport is extremely quiet,’ it said, adding that management at Cork Airport has been engaged with all its major stakeholders, including Ryanair, in relation to the runway reconstruction and remediation project since last autumn.
The airport added that the majority of its airline customers were strongly in favour of the runway work being done this year. ‘This runway reconstruction project is vital for the future of the airport and our aim is to complete with the least possible disruption and at the lowest cost. The reconstruction of the main runway which, when completed later this year, will be a key strategic asset for the south of Ireland for the next 20 years.’
It further said that the airport had been talking to airlines, including Ryanair, in relation to the types of incentive schemes on offer to help build back respective businesses. ‘We will be tabling a generous incentive scheme, which will once again make charges at Cork Airport cheaper than those at Dublin Airport, to Ryanair and to other customers in the coming days. Charges at Cork Airport have not increased in more than 14 years,’ it added.