A PETITION to establish a new Cork to Rome weekly flight has gathered almost 1,400 signatures, but Cork Airport has said only demand and market research will inform the provision of new routes.
A group calling themselves the Cork to Rome Flight Committee is behind the petition which is gaining momentum on social media.
The group says it believes the flights could be in place before the end of the year and intends to send the petition to Aer Lingus, Air France, Air Italy, Alitalia, British Airways, Easyjet, Iberia Airlines, KLM, Norwegian Air, Swiss Airlines, Vueling and Wizzair.
Cork Airport already facilitates a Ryanair service to Milan Bergamo from June to September twice weekly and Volotea flies from Cork to Verona from May to October.
Since the petition was set up in mid-August, 1,392 have signed it.
However, a spokesperson for Cork Airport said that they are in regular contact with existing and potential new airlines to add further destinations to the 44 scheduled routes across the UK, Europe and America offered by nine airlines.
“New routes such as the year-round service to Lisbon with Aer Lingus this October are a result of rigorous and robust market research which indicates a quantitative demand to ensure a viable, sustainable and profitable route for the airline who takes the commercial risk,” the spokesperson said.
“Where such demand can be proven, airlines will supply a service as evidenced by Iberia Express, Volotea, Swiss, Norwegian and Air France in the past two years,” they added.
Cork Airport previously facilitated a route to Rome operated by Aer Lingus but this was dropped in 2011.
Passengers can currently fly from Cork to Rome via Stansted with Ryanair or travel direct from Dublin airport.
In the 2016 Census, more than 10,000 Italians were recorded as living in Ireland.