7 October 2020
By Tom Collins
Cork Airport has echoed calls for the Irish Government to quickly approve the adoption of rapid turnaround, low cost, scalable, pre-departure testing for red zone countries to let safe air travel restart with confidence and save the thousands of jobs dependent on tourism, hospitality and aviation.
Speaking today at a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport & Communications on issues affecting the aviation sector in Ireland, daa CEO Dalton Philips also repeated calls for Cork Airport to be admitted to the existing regional airports CapEx and OpEx funding schemes until traffic levels have recovered to pre-COVID levels. Last year Cork Airport served 2.7million passengers while this year it expects it will serve less than 650,000 travellers. Cork Airport Managing Director, Niall MacCarthy, who also attended the Oireachtas Committee meeting, estimates it will take three to four years to return to those levels of passenger traffic.
In his introductory remarks, daa’s Dalton Philips outlined the extraordinary challenges which daa and the aviation sector now face as a result of COVID-19. He said he was thinking of people like Aaron Mansworth of Trigon Hotels in Cork who has seen occupancy plummet and one hotel close. “I am thinking of the 145,000 people across the country who depend on Cork and Dublin airports for their livelihoods and the 750 people that are leaving our company because we don’t have work for them due to the loss of air traffic.”
“Cork Airport was Ireland’s fastest-growing airport in 2019 and was on course to be so again in 2020. Instead, over half of its airlines have withdrawn, traffic is down 90% and it is facing into losses of €20 million this year. In stark contrast to its other regional airport peers, Cork has received no direct State funding to date and now requires specific provisions, including access to the Regional Airport OpEx and Capital Funding Programmes”, Dalton Philips said.