Cork-US flights may resume in a few years

Cork-US flights may resume in a few years

Cork Airport has reopened to flights after a 10-week closure for a runway rebuild. Aer Lingus’s EI710 07.45 to London Heathrow was the first flight out. Picture: Andy Gibson

THE Cork Airport managing director has spoken with confidence about the airport’s future, saying he anticipates that flights from Cork to the US may resume in the next few years.

Niall MacCarthy was speaking to The Echo at a ceremony on Saturday to officially open the airport’s reconstructed main runway.

When asked if consideration had been given to extending the main runway, Mr MacCarthy said this was ruled out: “We’ll be able to reach the east coast of the US on the existing runway. Large aircraft can use us, but if we had gone for an extension, we would have had to acquire land; we don’t own the land. Environmental impact studies would have been a three to four-year project.

“It’s all about bouncing back and we will get to the US from Cork again. We were flying to Rhode Island before and we’ll fly to New York. Give it three or four years,” he said.

The reconstruction of the airport’s main runway (16/34), completed on schedule and within budget in a 10-week period, will enable Cork “to reclaim its rightful place as the State’s fastest-growing and second-largest airport”, the CEO of Cork Airport’s parent company, daa plc, Dalton Philips, said at the ceremony.

“Cork Airport will continue to drive the economic growth and development of Cork and the south of Ireland into the future,” Mr Philips said. “The next phase starts from right here, where we’re standing today, and there’s no limit to where it can take us.”

Cork Airport reopened today. The first flight, EI710, operating the A320 St Malachy to Heathrow Airport, departed at 8.09am. Mr MacCarthy said there are 23 winter routes from Cork Airport, with 36 summer routes.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the runway reconstruction project at Cork Airport was “a model” for how projects in the National Development Plan (NDP) can be delivered.

“This project future-proofs a critically important strategic asset for Cork, the southwest region, and for Ireland, for many years to come,” Mr Martin said.

“The investment by the Government, of €10m in this project, will ensure continued, essential connectivity — connecting people and places, families and friends, economies and businesses — with enormous benefits for the city, the wider region, and for the country.”

Mr Martin said the airport, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last month, has played an “essential role” in “boosting the economic and social wellbeing of Cork and its people”.

He said the reconstruction project was “a model for how we can deliver other projects in the NDP”.

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