Cork Airport has a 'bright future' once the pandemic is over, says Minister Coveney

Cork Airport has a 'bright future' once the pandemic is over, says Minister Coveney

A quiet Cork Airport during the Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions.

THE Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney has said he believes Cork Airport has a "bright future" once the pandemic is over.

However, Mr Coveney acknowledged the immense toll Covid-19 has taken on the aviation industry.

"At the moment we have a handful of flights out of Cork every week.

"International connectivity is essentially through Dublin now.

"We have less than 1,000 people coming into Ireland a day through our airports.

"Normally it would be many, many multiples of that, but that’s the way it needs to be for now," he said, speaking to members of Cork Chamber at a virtual meeting on Wednesday morning.

"I think we’re likely to fall into the hundreds rather than thousands of people coming into Ireland each day and only for essential travel for the foreseeable future. That puts huge pressure on the management team in Cork Airport."

Cork Airport was Ireland's fastest-growing airport in 2019 but in 2020 passenger numbers fell by 80%.

Commenting earlier this month Managing Director of Cork Airport, Niall MacCarthy said that 2020 was "a year like no other for Cork Airport".

He said the airport is already working on their recovery plans in a bid to become "an engine of growth for the South of Ireland economy once again".

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Coveney said he believes the airport has a "bright future" when safe travel can resume.

"We have signed off on significant investment programmes for Cork Airport to make sure that not only is there a signal there that we believe that Cork Airport has a very bright future, but actually we’re backing that up with money.

"If Cork is to be a significant counter-balance for investment, for job creation, for population growth and for the kind of approach that we’re talking about in terms of creating a significant second city hub, if you like, in Ireland out of Cork than it’s got to have international connectivity.

"You cannot have that kind of growth without connectivity and Cork Airport is vital for that and we are investing accordingly," he said.

"Once we can travel safely again, which isn’t going to be for some time yet I’m afraid, I think you’ll see the Government really proactively working with the management team in Cork Airport... to ensure that passenger numbers coming through Cork take off again.

"That’s going to take a bit of time and we need to work with airlines to do it," he continued.

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