Cork Airport adds two new UK routes; forecasts 8pc growth in 2016
2.2m passengers for 2016
Aer Lingus Regional is to base a third aircraft at Cork, and will fly direct to Southampton and Leeds Bradford in 2016.
The airline, operated by Stobart Air, will launch the UK services next summer, adding to a wave of new route announcements at the airport.
It will also base a third aircraft at Cork, and increase capacity on existing routes to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle, it said.
Cork's passenger numbers are down some 35pc since 2008, but several new route announcements have led to optimism at the country's second-busiest airport.
"Today’s news is further evidence that Cork Airport is now well on track to return to annualised growth next year," said its Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy.
The airport is forecasting growth of 8pc in 2016 - a figure which, if achieved, would deliver 2.2 million passengers (up from 2.14m in 2014).
New services to Boston and Barcelona (Norwegian), Dusseldorf (Aer Lingus), Madrid (Iberia Express) and Menorca, Nantes and La Rochelle (CityJet) have all been announced for 2016 in recent weeks.
Aer Lingus has also increased capacity on several services for 2016, with Aer Lingus Regional expected to carry 335,000 passengers next year - up 22pc.
The Port of Cork welcomed the new route to/from Southampton, which will offer passengers a direct link to the UK's main cruise hub.
Meanwhile, Dave Lees, Managing Director of Southampton Airport, said Cork was "the most requested unserved route in Ireland" from the city.
The Cork to Southampton route will operate five times weekly, with three weekly services on the Leeds Bradford route.
Seats for the UK routes start from €24.99 on aerlingus.com.