Looking back on golden moments at Cork Airport

Looking back on golden moments at Cork Airport

Ulick O'Connor (second left) and James Healy welcome Sarah Churchill to Cork Airport in 1967. 

Compared with July 2019, there has been a 53% reduction in route choice and a 50% reduction in airlines operating, recent air traffic figures revealed.

Passenger numbers are forecast to decline by more than 2 million passengers by the year-end due to the impact of Covid-19.

Cork AUL Youths team and officials pictured at Cork Airport prior to departing for International Tournament in Coventry in 1972. Back: Gene Murphy, Dommie Kenny, Alan O'Driscoll, Derry Murphy (Manager), Brendan Hyde, Corny Mulcahy, Tom Hegarty, Joe Lynch, Pat Punch, John Buckley, Leo West, Barry Fitzgerald, Denis Collins, Billy O'Sullivan, John Barnes. Front: Terry Burke, Billy O'Connor, Monty Montgomery, Vincent Marshall, Philip Neiland, Buzz O'Connell, Noel Linnane, John O'Driscoll, Frank O'Neill. 
Cork AUL Youths team and officials pictured at Cork Airport prior to departing for International Tournament in Coventry in 1972. Back: Gene Murphy, Dommie Kenny, Alan O'Driscoll, Derry Murphy (Manager), Brendan Hyde, Corny Mulcahy, Tom Hegarty, Joe Lynch, Pat Punch, John Buckley, Leo West, Barry Fitzgerald, Denis Collins, Billy O'Sullivan, John Barnes. Front: Terry Burke, Billy O'Connor, Monty Montgomery, Vincent Marshall, Philip Neiland, Buzz O'Connell, Noel Linnane, John O'Driscoll, Frank O'Neill. 

Commenting on the latest figures, Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said last month should have been the "busiest month of the year at Cork Airport".

"However, we are reporting passenger numbers down 91% compared to last July.

"Covid-19 continues to have a massive impact on aviation globally and Cork Airport, no different than other airports, continues to be very severely impacted by the pandemic," he said.

Robert Graves poet and scholar arriving at Cork Airport, 1975. 
Robert Graves poet and scholar arriving at Cork Airport, 1975. 

On Monday, October 16, 1961, the first flight descended on to the 6,000 foot runway with distinguished guests including Taoiseach Séan Lemass, the Minister for Industry and Commerce Jack Lynch, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Robert Briscoe onboard the Aer Lingus Viscount. 

The first passengers to arrive into the city's new £1 million airport were greeted by the Minister for Transport and Power, Erskine H Childers and Lord Mayor of Cork, Anthony Barry.

Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney pictured at Cork Airport with children Heather (aged 8) and Mary (4) in 1971.
Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney pictured at Cork Airport with children Heather (aged 8) and Mary (4) in 1971.

Prior to their arrival, the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Rev Dr Lucey blessed the airport apron and the men who had constructed it.

Also in attendance at the official opening were members of the Army Air Corps who had flown in earlier that morning on an Air Corps Dove. 

In extending his greetings, the Lord Mayor said it was a "remarkable day for Cork".

Santa at Cork Airport, 1963.
Santa at Cork Airport, 1963.

"It is particularly appropriate for the head of the Government to attend because we all realise, no matter what way we are pigeon-holed politically that he is the architect of our eminence in the air.

"Cork is now moving with giant strides into the contemporary world.

"We are facing a great period of expansion and the airport is an intrinsic adjunct to this process," he continued.

Over the decades, Cork Airport has welcomed a slew of famous faces - from entertainers to political figures and well known military veterans.

Charlie Chaplin signs an autograph at Cork Airport in 1964.
Charlie Chaplin signs an autograph at Cork Airport in 1964.

In 1965, Douglas Bader, famous World War II RAF fighter pilot, was made honorary life member of Munster Aero Club in Cork Airport on September 16.

Bader was unique in that he had both legs amputated following a serious air crash in 1931.

He was invalided out of the RAF due to his injuries but on the outbreak of World War II he prevailed on the Air Ministry to be given a chance and was reinstated. 

Bader became a fighter ace initially in the fight for France and came to prominence in the Battle of Britain air war. 

The Bee Gees arrive at Cork Airport, 1967. 
The Bee Gees arrive at Cork Airport, 1967. 

Renowned comedic actor Charlie Chaplin flew into Cork Airport on a number of occasions.

Chaplin's great grandmother was a gypsy from Cork and the actor would often come to Ireland to holiday in Waterville in Kerry. 

Other famous faces to have arrived into Cork Airport over the years include Sarah Churchill, daughter of Winston Churchill, Beatles legend Paul McCartney, poet and scholar Robert Graves and Australian pop sensation group, the Bee Gees. 

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