Aer Lingus yesterday confirmed a twice-weekly service from Cork to Dusseldorf will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays from next May, with prices from €40 one-way.
This will add an extra 18,000 available seats to the airport’s network, and comes just days after CityJet announced a high-frequency Cork to London City Airport service from October.
And it has emerged that following an unified approach by the so-called “coalition of the willing” — airport management, the local authorities, Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the IDA, travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and the Cork Convention Bureau — German tour operators are already including Cork in their programme of destinations for 2016.
The approach could act as a template for further growth at the airport, Transport and Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe said.
He also announced a €1m marketing fund, provided through Tourism Ireland, to help regional airports and ports. The funding will be allocated based on submissions to his department over the coming months.
“The fund will be used to exploit the marketing opportunities presented by new access routes to the gateways to the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East.”
Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh said the airline, which serves 22 destinations out of Cork and carried 1.25m passengers through the airport last year, sees room for further growth.
He praised the “coalition of the willing” and said: “The development of Aer Lingus between Cork and Europe has a long way to go. We are very pleased with the co-ordination which has led to this new route, and I’m sure it will act as template for future developments in Cork.”
Cork Airport director Niall MacCarthy said he was delighted stakeholders proved to Aer Lingus there is demand for the new route.
“The collaborative model used to win the new service has potential to deliver additional new services for the airport and the region.”
Germany is the third-largest market for visitors to Ireland, with more than 560,000 Germans visiting here last year. Düsseldorf is Germany’s largest metropolitan area, with a population of about 11m people.