Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the IAA — which provides air traffic control services across the country — is considering the introduction of “limited restrictions” to controller services at Cork Airport “as a result, in particular, of low night time traffic levels at the airport”.
While no details have been given as to how many hours would be lost, a Cork Airport spokesman said the facility was opposed to any reduction to the current round-the- clock cover.
“Cork Airport and Dublin Airport Authority, which operates both Cork and Dublin airports, have stressed to the IAA that any proposed changes to these services at Cork Airport cannot impact on current or prospective passenger and freight traffic at Cork,” he said.
Mr Varadkar’s party colleague and local Cork TD Jerry Buttimer, said he had raised the importance of maintaining Cork Airport’s status with the minister last week.
“I would not be happy to see any dilution of service in Cork because it is important it is seen within the global market as being an airport open for business, be it cargo, freight, tourism, or commercial traffic at all times,” said Mr Buttimer.
“We require a resilient and dynamic plan for Cork to attract new airlines to come in and to increase passenger numbers. We should see no reduction in hours.
“Cork Airport is pivotal to the development of the southern region. Therefore there is an obligation on the IAA to ensure that the airport is available for any type of traffic at all hours of day or night.”
However, Mr Varadkar has admitted that he has no statutory function in relation to the matter as the IAA is empowered by legislation to operate and manage terminal navigation services as it sees fit.
The IAA has delayed the introduction of the changes to control cover for six months during which it will monitor traffic through the airport at night.
It is also due to consult with airport management and local business representatives on its plans at a meeting on Aug 26.