Cork Airport has confirmed the dates for its planned closure this autumn to facilitate an upgrade of its main runway.
The airport will close from September 12 to November 22 inclusive in order for the “largest construction project to be undertaken since the building of the new terminal and ancillary buildings in 2005” to be completed.
Cork Airport’s only jet-capable runway has been in operation since 1961. Originally 1,883m long, it was extended by a further 300m in 1989, and its only overlay since its construction was in 1999.
In a statement on its website, Cork Airport said that the 22,000 commercial landings annually and facilitating thousands of smaller aircraft each year have caused the runway which is in constant use to degrade over time.
“The reality is the runway at Cork Airport is now life expired and now needs significant investment to extend its life for another 15 years,” the statement read.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has expressed its disappointment at the timing of when the runway upgrades are being carried out.
The Association believes that this work could have been undertaken earlier in the year, while the airport was operating a reduced flight schedule as a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
ITAA CEO Pat Dawson said that while the association understands that it is essential to have the runways resurfaced, that it is “a long-standing issue which should have been addressed before now” when international travel is set to pick up again.
“With so few people using the airport at the height of the pandemic, it would have been easy to work flight schedules around completing the runway upgrades in order to allow the airport to reopen when the threat of Covid-19 has passed.
We believe that there will be a pent-up demand from the public for international travel in the latter part of this year, as people continue to receive vaccinations against Covid-19.
“Cork Airport has already lost some of its routes to other larger airports. The travel trade will be negatively impacted by this, because due to these runway upgrades it is looking like they will have no product to sell from Cork Airport until 2022,” Mr Dawson said.