Airports

Published on June 24th, 2015 | by Jim Lee

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Cork Airport’s passenger numbers fall 5.9% in the first five months of the year as it losses two Czech services

Following confirmation that Cork Airport’s passenger numbers had fallen by 43,422 or 5.9%, in the first five months of the year, from 781,631 to 738,209, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, was asked in the Dáil on 17th June, if he recognised that reducing passenger numbers at Cork Airport, needs to be addressed by a change in aviation policy. He was also asked what measures he plans to take in order to assist in facilitating an increase in passenger numbers at Cork Airport.

This followed an announcement by CSA-Czech Airlines on 3rd June, that “after thorough analyses”, its management had decided not to launch operations on two services, from Cork (to Prague and Ibiza), announced on 13th February In a statement, they said advance bookings for the flights did not meet their expectations, and the routes wouldn’t be economically viable. In the statement, the airline apologised to customers who may be affected by this decision, and added that it had “authorised a free full refund of tickets that were issued for the Cork-Prague or Cork-Ibiza routes”.

Czech Airlines A319

A Czech Airlines A.319 that was due to operate the new services

Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said he was disappointed at Czech Airlines’ decision not to proceed with the two services. “Our team here at Cork Airport worked hard to secure these new routes for the region, but unfortunately, Czech Airlines has indicated that bookings were not strong enough to sustain the services for this summer. We will continue to work with Czech Airlines in the future to secure new sustainable services from Cork Airport”.

Originally the Prague – Cork service was to have started on 14th May, but was postponed because of low demand. It was rescheduled to start on 12th June, the same date as the Cork-Ibiza route, which was planned to be integrated with the Prague service.

Many in Cork believe that the service was not marketed properly, although Czech Airlines say that the numbers booked were not in line with the original estimates and calculations, “despite intensive marketing and business support”. Indeed it is not clear how effectively the Ibiza service – essentially a charter – was marketed by the travel trade, while outdoor advertising for the two routes only appeared on busses, after the service was axed.

Responding in the Dáil, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, said that the daa, along with Cork Airport management, were working to stabilise passenger numbers and return Cork Airport to growth. However, he said “local support in the region is a crucial component of any initiatives to reverse the current decline. It was disappointing that lack of support for the planned Cork-Prague and Cork-Ibiza routes was the reason cited by Czech Airlines for its decision not to commence operations on the routes”.

He added “the National Aviation Policy cannot address the issue of local support for the Airport. That is a matter for the people and businesses in the region. However, such support is critical to ensure the Airport’s future sustainability”. The draft National Aviation Policy will be published before the summer recess and will set out Government policy in relation to Cork Airport’s role as a key tourism and business gateway for its region, making particular reference to the development of key niche markets. In line with this policy, the focus has been on exploiting the opportunity to grow inbound tourists to the Cork region, particularly in view of the fact that only 37% of Cork Airport’s passengers are inbound.

Cork route map

Routes served from Cork

Following the successful ‘Grow Dublin Taskforce’, both local authorities, with Fáilte Ireland, are progressing a similar initiative to prepare a cohesive strategic plan for the development of Cork’s tourism potential. This strategy will focus on identifying and addressing Cork’s opportunities for growth and is due to be completed by November. Another positive development is that following on from the Government’s decision in relation to the IAG/Aer Lingus issue, an announcement is expected shortly with regard to a new German service from the Airport.

Monthly passenger figures for the first five months of 2015

Prior year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

1st 5 months

2015

2,144,476

117,506

121,150

141,999

167,509

190,045

738,209

2014

2,258,005

129,856

126,689

145,482

183,402

196,202

781,631

Difference

-12,350

-5,539

-3,483

-15,893

-6,157

-43,422

Percentage

-10.5%

-4.6%

-2.5%

-9.5%

-3.2%

-5.9%

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About the Author

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Jim has had a life-long interest in military matters and aviation. Initially, he fused both of these interests together with a passion for military aviation, initially as a photographer. He has travelled extensively over the years and has been the guest of many European air forces, plus the air forces of the United States, Russia and others throughout the world. His first introduction to journalism coincided with an interest in the civil aviation industry was when he initially wrote for and later edited, ‘Aviation Ireland’, the club magazine of the Aviation Society of Ireland. Jim was a contributor to Flying in Ireland since its inception over 10 years ago and is now a key contributor to this site. He has also contributed items for a number of other aviation magazines and has produced a number of detailed contributions to Government policy documents, most recently the Irish Government’s White Paper on Defence. He is also deeply involved in the local community and voluntary sector and has worked both in local government and central government.



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