Ryanair announces new flights to Croatia from 'Ireland's fastest-growing airport'
Cork Airport is on course to clock growth of 8pc this year, on the back of several new and expanded Ryanair services
Ryanair will start a new, twice-weekly service from Cork Airport to Zadar during its summer 2020 schedule, the airline has announced.
The new, direct service will take off on May 3 2020, and follows another new summer 2020 route, to Katowice in Poland, already confirmed by Ryanair.
The flights are now available to book on ryanair.com, with one-way fares starting from €65.99 in May as we publish.
Ryanair’s passenger numbers at Cork Airport are forecast to rise by 23pc this year, with five new winter services to Alicante, Budapest, Malta, Katowice and Poznań already underway.
The airline also launched a twice-weekly service to Naples this summer, and Aer Lingus is set to increase its Cork-Dubrovnik service from two to three flights per week.
“Cork Airport is the fastest growing airport on the island of Ireland this year," said Niall MacCarthy, the airport's Managing Director.
The airport is preparing to enter its fifth consecutive year of growth, it says, with passenger numbers expected to rise by 8pc to 2.6 million this year, and forecast to grow by a further 5pc in 2020.
Cork Airport's busiest year was 2008, when it clocked 3.25 million passengers shortly after opening a gleaming new terminal at a cost of €120 million.
Numbers plummeted by over 35pc in subsequent years, however, before the arrival of several new routes signalled the start of a turnaround in 2015.
This week, it also announced the launch of its first self-service kiosks and bag drops in a partnership with Aer Lingus.
Dublin records first decline since 2014
News of the Croatian route came on the same day Dublin Airport announced its first monthly decline in passenger numbers since March 2014 - with a fall of 1pc this November, as compared to the same month last year.
The decline is due to airlines withdrawing services or reducing capacity on their existing route network to and from Dublin during the winter, it says.
Transatlantic traffic declined by 4pc over the month, a spokesperson said, while passenger numbers on domestic routes declined by 25pc.
However, the country's biggest airport is still on course to grow in 2019, with more than 30.6 million passengers having already travelled this year.
The figure represents a 5pc increase on the same period last year.
A soft day for Irish tourism
In another batch of statistics released today, the CSO underlined a softening in overseas visitor numbers after years of heady growth.
During the first nine months of 2019, visitor numbers were up just 1pc to 8.4 million, it said, while revenue remained flat at around €4.1 billion.
“The figures confirm that 2019 has been a very mixed experience for Irish tourism, with weaker demand and the continued uncertainty around Brexit giving rise to consumer concern in Britain and some Mainland European markets," said Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland, the overseas marketing agency.
Air access capacity has also fallen this year, he added.