Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the tourism and airport authorities should formulate a joint plan to boost business and get more visitors into the South-West.
“Cork Airport needs to be cheaper and more competitive to get more routes,’’ he said.
Speaking at the Connect international aviation conference at the INEC, Killarney, Mr Jacobs said Ryanair was already increasing flights at Dublin and Shannon, but the airline needed a ‘’better deal’’ from Cork Airport.
The conference heard that an analysis of 350 European airports showed passenger numbers grew by 5.5%, in 2014, to over 1.8bn. According to anna-aero, the airline databank agency, Ryanair leads the way in new routes, launching almost 40 in the first few weeks of the summer season. Chief analyst for anna.aero Ralph Anker also said that, with lower fuel prices, competition was set to intensify, with Ryanair and Vueling, in particular, fighting for supremacy at key European hubs.
Kerry Airport chairman Denis Cregan said the conference was an enviable opportunity for Kerry and for Ireland — enabling people in tourism and aviation to meet some of the important decision-makers as they planned for the coming years.
Over 450 key industry influencers, representing 50 airlines and over 150 airports, are attending the event, hosted by Kerry Airport.