Letter to the Editor: Short runway bad for Cork Airport in the long run

Letter to the Editor: Short runway bad for Cork Airport in the long run

The withdrawal of the transatlantic air service from Cork is disappointing, but hardly surprising. How can airport management persuade airlines to provide transatlantic services when the runway is too short for take-off of long-haul aircraft?

Cork County Council’s LAP 2016 for Cork Airport resolves: “Runway extension — It is an objective of this plan to safeguard the lands necessary to provide, in a sustainable manner, for an extension to the northern end (17 end) of main runway 17-35 to facilitate long-haul and transatlantic flights.”

In arriving at that objective, the council states, amongst other things, that “Cork Airport have confirmed that any runway extension would primarily facilitate increased take-off capacity and allow the airport to serve further long-haul destinations” and “although it is proposed to extend runway 17-35 by 247m at its northern end, it is not

intended to relocate the theoretical touchdown point (i.e. the touchdown point to which the instrument landing system, or ILS, directs approaching aircraft)”.

In its preamble, the LAP says: “Extension of runway 17-35 3.7.1. It has been a long-standing objective of Cork Airport to commence the operation of long-haul and transatlantic flights, increasing the sectors served from Cork and enhancing the airport’s competitive position and the realisation of this objective necessitates an extension to the main runway 17-35.

IDA Ireland have emphasised the importance of the availability of long-haul and transatlantic destinations from Cork to attracting foreign direct investment and, equally, the potential benefit to the tourism industry has been cited by Fáilte Ireland, amongst others.

It also observes: “Given the lead time in the provision of this key piece of airport infrastructure, commencement of the process for its provision has been identified in the first strategic phase of development.”

The only comment from the DAA was a defensive one, saying they were proposing €40m in capital expenditure at Cork Airport in the next few years. On what basis? Where now the comments in Ireland 2040?

Much has been said recently about deferments, delays, curtailments etc, of many infrastructural projects in the Cork area. This relatively small, but important, runway project ought to be subject to public/media comment, particularly its implications for the region.

John Whelan

Edenbrook Park

Rathfarnham

Dublin 12

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 17 August 2019.

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