Does Cork Airport suck? are Shannon and Dublin too far away? try Kerry

22 April 2019
By Mary Bermingham
mary@TheCork.ie

Opinion piece

During the spell of wet weather this day last week (remember Monday? when everyone was wearing coats and jumpers again) we decided to do some summer holiday planning. Living in Cork our Airport of choice is Cork Airport, our second choice is Dublin Airport (2h 45mins drive), and our third choice is Shannon Airport (1h 45mins drive).

Before you say it, yes, we know that Shannon Airport is closer to Cork than Dublin Airport, but have you driven that painful road to Shannon recently? It is slow and requires concentration as you snake your way past Mallow, through Charleville, and onwards to Croom. It is a road which never seems to end #CorkToLimerickMotorwayRequired.

This time, during our search on Skyscanner, a fourth option arrived onto our radar, it is called Kerry Airport (it used to be called Farranfore, but the Kerry brand name is much more marketable!. After all, Farranfore is a village with a population of just 84 people).

We have all vaguely heard of Kerry Airport, but why should we care?

Kerry Airport with an address of Farranfore, Co Kerry (KIR / EIKY) is just 1h 30mins from Cork City, meaning that it’s closer than Shannon Airport. Indeed if Cork Airport isn’t a runner then it’s the next closest Airport overall. I concede that the road from Cork to Kerry twists and turns, but somehow because you are in a scenic landscape it doesn’t seem as bad as driving to Shannon. Plus, most Cork people are well used to driving to Killarney so that first section of the road from Cork to Killarney can almost be done on autopilot as muscle memory predicts the corners of the N22 from Macroom to Kilnamatra (or is it Kilnamartyre? this place has so many spellings!) to Ballyvourney. Indeed a spirit of Irishness and Corkness can be felt as the road twists like the nearby Sullane River. It’s also a great road if you enjoy admiring high powered luxobarges driven by the wealthy who are ferrying their Anglosphere guests between their Kerry hideaway and Cork Elysian Apartment.

Tell me about Kerry Airport

Kerry is investing in its future. Just last month Kerry Airport announced the appointment of John Mulhern as new General Manager. His Cork related credentials are that his previous role was as Chief Operating Officer at the Mater Private Hospital Cork in Mahon Point from 2016. Traleetoday says “He played a pivotal role in turning what was a loss-making business into a very successful operation. He will be responsible for the effective delivery of all elements of airport operations within budget.”

New COO has high ideas

On taking up the Kerry Airport role last month Mulhern said “Passenger numbers were up 9% in 2018, a newly refurbished Fire Station is currently under construction, the Gateway Bar and Restaurant have been refurbished and the magnificent new-look pre-boarding area in the departures lounge has led to an improved and more pleasant travel experience for outbound passengers. I’m looking forward to working with the Board to ensure that Kerry Airport remains a major gateway between Kerry and global commercial and tourism markets for many years to come,”

That’s Gas!

Last month it was also announced that Babcock International is to open a helicopter base at Kerry Airport to service oil and gas exploration of the southwest coast. Babcock, formerly known as Bond Helicopters, have a similar base at Cork Airport where Eurocopter EC135 T2+ (H135) EI-KEL is based.

Public transport

Kerry one of the few Irish Airports close to a Railway station (close we say, but not within the Airport itself!). Iarnród Éireann’s Farranfore railway station is located 1.6 kilometres (0.99 mi) to the south with services to Killarney, Tralee, Mallow, Cork, Limerick Junction and Dublin Heuston.

But PR aside, back now to Kerry, and where can you actually fly to this summer?

Jaqian at English Wikipedia
CC BY-SA 3.0
File:Kerry Airport.jpg
Created: 18 December 2008

Route from Kerry abroad for Summer 2019

There are the Summer Sun routes of Alicante in Spain and Faro in Portugal with Ryanair.com. It’s not all about the sun with Berlin, Frankfurt Hahn, London and Dublin, all having direct flights to and from Kerry Airport.

Kerry Airport is the only airport in the region that offers flights to Germany with Ryanair flights to Berlin, every Wednesday and Sunday and to Frankfurt-Hahn on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Frankfurt Hahn Airport is equidistant between Frankfurt and Luxembourg so the opportunities to explore historical and cultural sites are vast.

Finally, if you must travel from Dublin Airport, then have you considered flying there from Kerry?

There are daily flights to Dublin Airport. In January 2018 Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, following a public tendering process was awarded with a Public Service Obligation contract, linking the airport with Dublin, for the next four years.

More to follow

Irrespective of the above we have yet to use Kerry Airport ‘in the flesh’, so watch this space.

Will we have an article entitled ‘Love Letter to Kerry Airport’ this summer? or will we find out that it has just one shop selling overpriced sandwiches like Cork Airport in the 1960s?! #WatchThisSpace

Looking forward to our Kerry adventure…

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