The ‘Save Cork Airport’ Facebook page disappeared from the social media site on Wednesday after Cork Airport managing director Niall MacCarthy said it was “hugely unhelpful”.
“The dynamic around ‘Save Cork Airport’ is actually really unhelpful,” said Mr MacCarthy. “Save Cork Airport is not where it’s at. ‘Support Cork Airport’ is where it’s at.”
Asked about the effectiveness of the airport’s social media presence, as opposed to the now-defunct Facebook page, Mr MacCarthy said: “The ‘Save Cork Airport’ campaign is hugely unhelpful, I would say, because it’s putting the perspective out that the airport’s going to close when, in actual fact, the airport is the second busiest in Ireland and is going to expand.”
Following a report in the Irish Examiner on Wednesday, the administrators of the page shut it down.
One of the administrators, Felicity MacDonald, yesterday expressed her surprise and disappointment over the forum’s closure, having spent a lot of time maintaining and promoting the page and a related petition.
“I was surprised and I felt rather let down about it because I put in quite a lot of hard work into the page, particularly so with the petition,” she said.
“I’ve been spreading the word trying to get people to sign the petition and spending many hours essentially trying to put messages across about the airport… [It’s] a shame because it’s got 24,000 people that like it, it’s a big database on there.”
Ms MacDonald and another social media activist, Matt Kirkham, are prepared to take over the running of the page, but say the main administrator was reluctant to release control.
Mr Kirkham set up a ‘Support Cork Airport’ Facebook page, which currently has close to 800 likes, while an accompanying Twitter account has more than 1,100 followers. Their preference, however, is to resurrect the ‘Save Cork Airport’ page with a more positive focus.
Mr Kirkham said he was disappointed with Mr MacCarthy’s comments and said the new page would try to support the airport but added that he would also share negative press reports as they arose.
Passenger numbers at Cork Airport were down 5% last year as 110,000 fewer travellers passed through its gates — 102,000 of which were as a result of Ryanair’s decision to transfer some Eastern European routes to Shannon.
Mr MacCarthy said the airport’s passenger numbers will decline again this year but expected it to return to growth in 2016 and highlighted the need for greater marketing support.