CORK Airport management has signalled tough times ahead for the Kinsale Road facility, with a statement last Friday pointing out its parent firm Dublin Airports Authority (DAA) is losing €1m a day.
A major cost-cutting programme is currently underway at both Cork and Dublin airports, as the impact of the pandemic has cost the DAA an estimated €160m in lost turnover so far and will see the company record significant financial losses this year.
Traffic at Dublin and Cork Airports has ‘collapsed’, the statement said, and passenger numbers fell by 99% in April and May.
‘While the two airports had enjoyed a positive start to the year in terms of traffic growth, the sharp fall in travel in recent months means that overall 2020 passenger numbers have already declined by 55% and will fall further,’ it added.
The DAA is currently losing €1m per day, according to the company’s chief executive Dalton Philips. A very significant cost reduction programme is currently underway to address the issue. Costs have been cut across the business, staff have been placed on a four-day week, and a right-sizing programme is in progress.
‘This is the most serious crisis that has ever faced the international aviation sector and our business,’ Mr Philips said. ‘Our business and the wider sector have weathered many previous upheavals, such as the recent recession, the impact of September 11, and the 1970s oil crisis, and it will eventually recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. But it is likely to take some time as the short-term future is bleak, and the post-Covid industry will be very different.’
Dublin and Cork airports remained open throughout the crisis, with a skeleton staff, to help ensure that Ireland could receive the vital medical supplies it required, Mr Philips said.
Passenger numbers for Dublin and Cork Airports could be as low as 9m for this year, compared to a combined 35.5 million passengers last year. Passenger numbers for 2021 may be about 21 million, which would represent a 40% decline in traffic compared to 2019.
‘When Dublin and Cork Airports last had that level of passenger numbers, they had between 750 and 1,000 fewer employees, so, unfortunately, we have to take unpalatable measures to lower our costs across all areas of the business,’ he added.
The DAA has placed employees on a four-day week and a programme is underway to right-size the business through a voluntary severance scheme, career breaks and reduced hours working.
Changes in work practices are also being introduced and all capital spending is being reviewed and the delivery timescale of certain planned upgrades at Dublin Airport will be reconsidered.
Essential projects, such as Dublin Airport’s new runway and the upgrade to hold baggage screening systems at Dublin and Cork Airports – which is a regulatory requirement – will continue.
During the lockdown, Dublin and Cork Airports have undergone deep cleaning, the statement added.