Cork Airport to rebuild runways during downturn

4 March 2021
By Tom Collins

Cork Airport is progressing at pace its critical long-term capital infrastructure programme this year given the decimating impact the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the aviation industry.

With passenger numbers currently down 99% it makes prudent business sense to fast-track major capital investment projects now, while the airport is extremely quiet.

Management at Cork Airport has been engaged with all its major stakeholders, including Ryanair, in relation to the runway reconstruction and remediation project since last autumn. The majority of our airline customers are strongly in favour of the runway work being done this year. This runway reconstruction project is vital for the future of the airport and our aim is to complete with the least possible disruption and at the lowest cost. The reconstruction of the main runway which, when completed later this year, will be a key strategic asset for the South of Ireland for the next 20 years.

“We have consulted more than dozen other international airports in the UK and continental Europe which have completed similar runway projects in recent years. Airports adopt a range of technical solutions and working windows, but the aim is always the same – to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, using the optimum technical solution, at the lowest cost.”

A number of options are being considered in the context of stakeholder views, with particular regard to the recovery of traffic with our major airline customers. This will be the key determinant to the delivery of these works so that we complete the runway project in the most effective and efficient manner. Public tendering commenced back in November in accordance with EU procurement guidelines for a project of this scale and “we plan to be in a position to award the contract in May.”

Cork Airport has been talking to airlines, including Ryanair, in relation to the types of incentive schemes we will offer to enable us to work together to build back our respective businesses. We will be tabling a generous incentive scheme, which will once again make charges at Cork Airport cheaper than those at Dublin Airport, to Ryanair and to other customers in the coming days. Charges at Cork Airport have not increased in more than 14 years.

Cork Airport was the fastest-growing airport in Ireland in 2019 and management is focused on working with our airlines and partners to secure strong passenger growth post-pandemic.

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