John Whelan’s letter of August 17 contained some incorrect information in relation to Cork Airport.
Cork Airport has undertaken multiple analyses of aircraft type that can successfully fly direct from Cork to the east coast of the US and Canada and the inaugural transatlantic service with Norwegian on July 1, 2017, is proof positive that we can support long-haul services from Cork without necessarily extending the runway.
Advances in aircraft technology, allowing them to fly further on less fuel, as well as the advent of narrow-bodied aircraft on long-haul routes, have aided our transatlantic ambitions.
Once aircraft such as the Boeing 737 MAX are certified to fly again by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic and airlines take delivery of the Airbus A321neo, airports such as Cork will feature again in these airlines’ plans.
In the meantime, existing aircraft, such as the Boeing 757, remain an alternative option to operate transatlantic services from Cork.
In relation to a possible runway extension to serve destinations other than those on the east coast of North America, or in the opposite direction, such a decision by Cork Airport would have to be subject to a rigorous and robust cost benefit analysis.
Considering Cork Airport receives no Government grant aid or State subsidies, any such investment by supported by our parent company DAA would be made solely on a commercial basis.
DAA has invested significantly in capital investment at Cork Airport to position it as the State’s fastest growing airport and will invest a further €40m in the immediate future. However, our ability to sustain this level of investment is now uncertain pending a final determination by the Commission for Aviation Regulation in relation to charges at Dublin Airport.
Charges at Dublin Airport, which are set by the regulator, are a key reference point for Cork and other regional airports and the 20% reduction that the regulator is proposing would have a hugely negative impact on the viability of Cork and its ability to invest for the future.
Any effort which limits the ability of our airports to compete internationally and ensure that they are viable, sustainable and profitable businesses capable of meeting the international connectivity needs of Ireland Inc must be challenged if we are to retain a level playing field.
Failure to do so will create a seismic shock to the entire airport ecosystem on the island of Ireland, even before we have to deal with the potential aftershocks of Brexit.
Head of CommunicationsCork airport