Cork Airport

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Cork Airport
Aerfort Chorcaí
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Ireland
Operator daa
Serves Cork City, Ireland
Location Ballygarvan, County Cork
Elevation AMSL 502 ft / 153 m
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
ORK is located in Ireland
Location of airport in Ireland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
17/35 2,133 6,998 Asphalt
07/25 1,310 4,298 Concrete/Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 2,144,476
Passenger change 13-14 Decrease5%
Aircraft Movements 20,005
Movements change 13-14 Decrease3.8%
Sources: Airport website[1]
Irish AIS[2]

Cork Airport (Irish: Aerfort Chorcaí, IATA: ORKICAO: EICK) is one of the three principal international airports of Ireland, along with Dublin and Shannon. It is located 6.5 km (4.0 mi)[2] south of Cork city in an area known as Farmers Cross.[4] In 2014, Cork Airport handled 2.1 million passengers, making it the state's second busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers, after Dublin, and third busiest on the island of Ireland, after Dublin and Belfast International.


1957 to 1979

In 1957 the Government of Ireland agreed in principle to the building of an airport for Cork. After considering many sites in the area, it was agreed that the airport should be built at Ballygarvan. Tenders were invited for the construction of the airport in 1959 at an estimated cost of £1 million. The airport was officially opened on 16 October 1961, following proving flights four days earlier by Aer Lingus and Cambrian Airways. Vincent Fanning was the first manager at the airport.[5] In its first year the airport handled 10,172 passengers – close to the average number of passengers handled each day at the airport in 2007. Throughout the 1960s the airport expanded with the arrival of more advanced aircraft and more destinations. The first jet, a British Overseas Airways Corporation Comet, landed at Cork Airport on 29 March 1964. By 1969 Aer Lingus was operating to London Heathrow, Manchester and Bristol.

In 1975 Aer Rianta, the then state airports authority, undertook a passenger terminal study aimed at improving the terminal facilities. The findings resulted in the provision, over the next two years, of new departure and arrival halls, a new check-in area, office complex, information desk, duty office and executive lounge. The new extensions and facilities were opened in 1978.

1980 to 2000

The 1980s began with an extension of the main apron. New services to London Gatwick began, while Aer Lingus' commuter division started a new domestic service to Dublin Airport. In 1985 following significant growth, Aer Rianta carried out a survey of the terminal facilities with a view to carrying out a major expansion and development programme. On 8 June 1987, Ryanair commenced services at Cork Airport. The following year, Phase I of the Terminal Expansion and Development Plan was completed. The following year the main runway extension of 1,000 ft (300 m) was opened.

The 1990s began with the completion of Phase II of the terminal expansion in 1991, and Phase III being completed in 1992 with the plan being brought to completion in 1994.

2001 to date

A Great Southern Hotel was opened on the airport grounds during 2001, and plans were drawn up for the construction of a new terminal building and ancillary capital investment works at an estimated cost of €140 million.

Also towards the end of 2001, new Irish regional airline Aer Arann opened its second base at Cork opening new routes to/from the airport.

Along with the construction of the terminal, roads were upgraded from single to dual carriageway and re-aligned, a new short term multi-storey car park constructed and key services enhanced to the highest international standards. Airbridges were an integral element of the original terminal design. However, only one airbridge was built because airline representatives from the low-cost carriers who use Cork Airport made it clear that they did not want airbridges, would not use them and would not pay for them. In the given circumstances, the DAA had no choice but to remove the airbridges from the terminal design during construction of the new facility. The new terminal was completed with four fixed links to the main building and is designed to accommodate additional airbridges if and when airlines indicate that they wish to avail of them.

Overlooking the check-in area from level 2

In 2005, Ryanair opened its 15th European base and second Irish base at Cork. The following year, the new terminal opened on 15 August. Designed by HOK and Jacobs Engineering Group, the new terminal was Ireland's first 21st century airport terminal. In terms of further expansion, the terminal can be extended in the form of additional piers which can be constructed to the north and south.

On 11 April 2008, the board of Cork Airport Authority agreed by one vote to accept responsibility for a debt of €113 million incurred by the Dublin Airport Authority in the redevelopment of Cork Airport to secure independence from Dublin Airport. This was despite government commitments that the Cork Airport Authority would be established on a debt-free basis.[6] The Cork Airport Authority Board also stated that their strong reservations about the level of debt that Cork Airport was being levied with and the potential impact on its future sustainability. On 21 April 2008, Cork Airport Authority chairman, Joe Gantly, announced his resignation effective from the end of July 2008 by which time he had completed five years service with the board. The current chairman of Cork Airport Authority is Gerry Walsh.[7]

On 16 October 2011, Cork Airport celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

New control tower

View of the check-in area at ground level (level 1)

The Irish Aviation Authority completed a new control tower 1 km from the old terminal to the west of the main runway. The total cost was €7.5 million and was funded entirely by the IAA with no government funding. Construction began in August 2007 and was completed in June 2008 but it took until mid October 2009 to get all the new systems tested and working. The new control tower officially opened on 20 October 2009 at 00:01.[8]

General aviation and business jets

Cork Airport has a long history of general aviation flying. Both fixed wing and rotary wing flight training providers operate at the airport. These flying schools are located to the south of the terminal building, on the east side of the main runway. Cork Airport also serves business jets.

Geographical situation

Airport at night

With an elevation of 153 m (502 ft) above sea level, Cork Airport is sometimes prone to fog and a low cloud ceiling. The Instrument landing system has been upgraded to Category II, and together with a 305 m (1,001 ft) extension of the main runway has significantly reduced the number of diversions. However, during times of severe inclement weather the airport can suffer from delays or diversions to airports such as Shannon, Dublin or Kerry. Similarly, diversions from these airports occasionally land at Cork.

The length of the main runway dictates that the airport cannot handle fully laden large widebody aircraft. Large wide-bodied aircraft do visit Cork Airport on an irregular basis, for example to operate ad-hoc charter services for flights to various sporting events such as those the Munster Rugby team.


The terminal building

From its opening in 1961 the airport was managed by the Department of Transport and Power, now the Department of Transport. Aer Rianta took control of Cork and Shannon airports on 1 April 1969 and the assets of the airports were transferred to the company under the Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Act, 1998. The name of Aer Rianta was changed to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) under the State Airports Act 2004, which also created the Cork Airport Authority[9] and the Shannon Airport Authority.[10] These companies were charged with preparing a business plan in preparation for taking over the assets of their airports from the DAA.

The board of daa has transferred significant day-to-day operational responsibility, under delegated authority, to the management of Cork Airport.[citation needed]

Passenger facilities

The main terminal at Cork Airport contains several shopping and eating facilities both before and after the security screening area, a bank with bureau de change service and an executive lounge. There are also various vending machines throughout the terminal. Paid Internet access is available throughout the terminal at computer terminals. There is also free Wi-Fi available for passengers throughout the terminal. Free internet access is also available in the Jack Lynch Lounge for frequent flyers and business class passengers.

There are two hotels located adjacent to the passenger terminal Cork International Airport Hotel, located in the business park, and a Park Inn by Radisson located directly opposite the terminal on airport grounds.

Development plans

View of the arrivals hall

Cork Airport has recently[when?] completed a Master Plan for the overall development of the aerodrome into the next twenty years[when?] which could,[original research?] in time, lead to an effective trebling in size of the current airport.[citation needed] Under the plan, the airport will be further-developed on a gradual phased basis from 2015 onwards.[citation needed]

The cargo area, currently located to the north–east of the airport, is envisaged to be moved in time to the south–east quadrant of the airport grounds, south of the current location for general aviation. In moving there, the general aviation area would, in time, be transferred directly opposite the main runway to the south–west of airport, just south of Runway 7.[11]

Using space from the removal of the cargo area, the main terminal could[original research?] be extended northwards, if ever required, allowing new fixed gates to be built.[citation needed] This would effectively double the current space for aircraft using Cork. The plan calls for the old terminal to be demolished – allowing the current terminal to also extend to the south if ever required.[12]

Parallel plans for the road network and public transport infrastructure also exist – to cope with increasing passenger traffic. These plans include the upgrade of the N27 to motorway standard with two lanes in each direction as well as a dedicated bus lane for city–bound traffic. The roundabout at the entrance of the airport would be enhanced with an under-pass to allow traffic between Cork and Kinsale to avoid the roundabout, thus allowing extra capacity on the roundabout itself.[13]

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Amsterdam, Lanzarote, London-Heathrow, Málaga, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Seasonal: Alicante, Barcelona, Düsseldorf (begins 1 May 2016),[14][15] Faro, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South
Seasonal charter: Salzburg[16]
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Stobart Air
Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International, Leeds/Bradford (begins 15 March 2016),[17] Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Southampton (begins 14 March 2016)[18]
Seasonal: Jersey, Rennes
Air Dolomiti Seasonal charter: Verona[19]
AlbaStar Seasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca[20]
ASL Airlines Ireland Seasonal charter: Reus[20]
CityJet London-City
Seasonal: La Rochelle (begins 21 June 2016),[21] Nantes (begins 19 June 2016)[22]
Seasonal charter: Menorca (begins 25 June 2016)[23][24]
Croatia Airlines Seasonal charter: Dubrovnik[25]
Flybe Cardiff
Iberia Express Seasonal: Madrid (begins 18 June 2016)[26]
Ryanair Gdańsk, Lanzarote, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted, Wrocław
Seasonal: Alicante, Bergamo, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Faro, Girona, Gran Canaria, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Reus, Tenerife-South
SunExpress Seasonal charter: İzmir[27]
Volotea Seasonal charter: Palma de Mallorca[20]



Passenger numbers

Passenger numbers at Cork Airport increased every year during the ten years between 1998 and 2008 by an average of 14.8% per annum from around 1.3 million to over 3.2 million. Passenger numbers fell however during the subsequent five years to 2.25 million in 2013.[3]

Cork Airport passenger totals 1998–2013 (millions)
Updated: 3 July 2014
Year Passengers Passengers
YoY %
1998 1,315,224
1999 1,501,974 Increase 14.2
2000 1,680,160 Increase 11.9
2001 1,775,817 Increase05.7
2002 1,874,447 Increase05.6
2003 2,182,157 Increase 16.4
2004 2,254,251 Increase03.3
2005 2,729,906 Increase 21.1
2006 3,010,575 Increase 10.3
2007 3,180,259 Increase05.6
2008 3,258,639 Increase02.5
2009 2,769,048 Decrease 15.0
2010 2,425,131 Decrease 12.4
2011 2,361,947 Decrease02.6
2012 2,340,115 Decrease00.9
2013 2,258,005 Decrease 3.5
2014 2,144,476 Decrease 5
1998–2001 – Aer Rianta[30]
2002–2005 – DAA[31]
2005–2009 - DAA[32]
2009–2013 – DAA[3]

Busiest routes

In addition to passengers travelling on routes within Ireland during 2012, the following table shows the number of passengers on international routes at the airport during the year.

Ten busiest international routes at Cork Airport (2013)
Rank Airport Passengers  % Change
1 London Heathrow 391,722 Increase02.0
2 London Stansted 238,357 Increase03.5
3 Amsterdam 172.436 Increase00.9
4 London Gatwick 118,044 Decrease029.0
5 Malaga 111,816 Decrease07.3
6 Lanzarote 90,988 Increase010.5
7 Paris Charles de Gaulle 85,132 Decrease06.0
8 Faro 81,288 Increase011.5
9 Manchester 76,321 Decrease3.8
10 Birmingham 75,608 Decrease5.8
Source: Central Statistics Office[33]

Ground transport


Bus Éireann serve the airport on a number of routes from the city centre (including route numbers 226 and 226A),[34] from Kinsale (226), and seasonally from Kenmare (252). CityLink Ireland also operate coach services to the airport from Galway via Limerick. The airport is served by taxi, with a taxi rank outside the arrivals entrance.


There is currently no rail link to the airport. The nearest station is Cork Kent station where you can change for further suburban and intercity rail connections.


Cork Airport is located 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) from Cork city centre at the south end of the N27 when coming from the north, west, or east of Cork, and off the R600 when coming from Kinsale. Dublin is around 260 kilometres (160 mi) away and 107 kilometres (66 mi) from Limerick. Cork Airport Authority operates all car parks at the airport, with both short-term and long-term parking within the campus and over 4,600 spaces in total. A number of companies offer car-hire in the arrivals hall of the terminal building.[35]

Incidents and accidents

  • On 24 March 1968, Aer Lingus Flight 712 departed Cork at 10:32 for a flight to London Heathrow and was cleared for FL170. The crew reported at the Bannow reporting point at FL170 at 10:57 and were instructed to change frequency to London Airways. Just eight seconds after first reporting on the London air traffic control frequency, a message was received which was later interpreted as "Twelve thousand feet descending spinning rapidly". The Vickers Viscount descended and struck the sea 1.7 NM (3.1 km; 2.0 mi) from Tuskar Rock. All 61 passengers and crew on board died.
  • On 10 February 2011, a Fairchild SA 227-BC Metro III owned by the Spanish airline Air Lada registered EC-ITP, was operating a scheduled flight under the AOC of Flightline S.L for the ticket seller Manx2. The flight NM7100 was operating from Belfast-City to Cork with ten passengers and two crew. At 09:50 hrs during the third attempt to land at Cork Airport in low visibility conditions, control was lost and the aircraft impacted the runway. The aircraft came to a rest inverted in soft ground to the right of the runway surface. Post impact fires occurred in both engines which were quickly extinguished by the Airport Fire Service (AFS). Six persons, including both pilots, were fatally injured. Four passengers were seriously injured and two received minor injuries.[36][37]
  • On 22 May 2011, at around 4:30pm a man entered a Garda Síochána vehicle in Cork City Centre, and slashed the Garda in the vehicle with a knife. The Garda jumped from his vehicle, and the man hijacked it, hitting a number of vehicles while driving to Cork Airport. At approximately 4:50pm the vehicle rammed through a perimeter airport fence, before breaking down. The man abandoned the Garda vehicle and, again producing a knife, hijacked an Airport Fire Service vehicle. By this time Air Traffic Control had suspended all operations. The man drove erratically on the airport taxiway, driving underneath a stationary Thomas Cook aircraft at high speed. The man proceeded to ram several Garda and airport vehicles, before attempting to ram an Aer Lingus aircraft. The hijacked vehicle stalled, halting feet from the Airbus A320. Armed Gardaí subdued the man with a taser. Flights were resumed after the man was removed and the airport perimeter secured.[38][39][40][41]


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External links

Media related to Cork Airport at Wikimedia Commons