Saturday 22 July 2017

Restoration of 'unsustainable' Dublin-Cork air link unlikely in near future

Cork is now one of the fastest growing airports in Europe and hopes next year to launch its first transatlantic flight thanks to Norwegian Air International (NAI).
Cork is now one of the fastest growing airports in Europe and hopes next year to launch its first transatlantic flight thanks to Norwegian Air International (NAI).
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The restoration of Ireland's second oldest air route is highly unlikely in the near future.

The revelation came as senior aviation figures admitted that, without a direct Government subsidy, the restoration of the Dublin-Cork air link will not happen.

Aer Lingus stressed that a Dublin-Cork service was not on its agenda, warning that such as service was unsustainable in the current circumstances.

Other airlines including Stobart/Aer Lingus Regional, Ryanair and CityJet similarly have no plans for an air link between Ireland's two biggest cities.

That is because of competition from hourly rail services between the two cities and a motorway link which makes the average driving time just over two-and-a-half hours.

Aer Lingus chief operating officer Mike Rutter said that the company's focus for Cork Airport was on growing its existing routes and potentially launching new services to the EU.

"The bottom line is that the infrastructure has overtaken the need for intra-regional flights," he said.

Ryanair axed the last Dublin-Cork air service in 2011. At its peak, the service was used by more than 100,000 passengers a year.

With the exception of the Dublin-London route, it was the second oldest air link in the State.

The loss of the route and its passenger numbers badly hit Cork Airport - but the facility has dramatically revived its fortunes over the past 18 months.

It is now one of the fastest growing airports in Europe and hopes next year to launch its first transatlantic flight thanks to Norwegian Air International (NAI).

That was secured following a long-running battle with the US authorities.

NAI have promised to launch routes from Cork and Shannon to New York and Boston.

Icelandic airline Wow, meanwhile, is launching a service from Cork to Reykjavik in Iceland with onward connections to the US.

Aer Lingus will offer 13 destinations from Cork next year with Berlin being examined as the next major European destination likely to be added. Cork Airport managing director Niall McCarthy said there were "very exciting developments" ahead for the facility.

Cork marked the 10th anniversary of its new terminal this year.

Irish Independent

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