The figures are up 10.5% for the first three months of the year on the back of 12 new route announcements in recent months, airport management said.
And they said Iberia Express’s new Madrid service launching on June 18 will help drive further passenger growth.
“This is one of nine new routes out of Cork this summer alone. We’re forecasting growth of between 8 and 10% so this new route will augment and accelerate hopefully that growth over the key summer months. Having come through some challenging years, we are now back in growth,” airport spokesman Kevin Cullinane said.
He was speaking as Iberia Express and the Spanish Tourism Office briefed the region’s travel industry on the new service at a special event in Cork. The low-cost carrier will begin the twice weekly service — on Wednesdays and Saturdays — on June 18. It will operate until September, with fares from €49 one-way.
Thanks to Tourism Ireland promotion in Spain, the route is already proving popular with inbound visitors.
In recent months, Cork Airport has announced new routes including Düsseldorf with Aer Lingus, London City, Nantes and La Rochelle with CityJet, Cardiff with Flybe, Southampton and Leeds Bradford with Aer Lingus Regional as well as Menorca with Lee Travel and Stein Travel.
Aer Lingus, Aer Lingus Regional operated by Stobart Air, and Ryanair have also increased capacity on key routes. The combined effect had added some 400,000 seats to the airport’s capacity.
Mr Cullinane said efforts are continuing to secure the required US approvals which would clear the way for Norwegian Air’s proposed Cork to Boston service.
The airline also plans to operate a Cork to Barcelona service and a New York service soon after.