Cork Airport

Cork Airport is the international gateway to the South of Ireland and is uniquely positioned at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East. 

It is the country’s second largest and best connected international airport with more choice of routes than any other airport outside of Dublin.

More than 2.2 million passengers travel through the airport this year, flying to 50+ top destinations across the UK and throughout continental Europe. Cork Airport’s customer service (as voted by passengers) has won national and international awards.



Overall passenger numbers at Cork Airport decreased by 3% to 2 million in 2015 but the year marked a change in the fortunes of the airport as it returned to growth in the final quarter of the year after several years of decline.
The airport secured three new airline customers - Flybe, CityJet and Iberia Express - together with nine confirmed new route announcements. New routes in 2015 included FlyBe to Cardiff and CityJet to London City.
In 2015, a new 10-year licence agreement was signed with Weston Aviation at the airport, allowing Cork Airport to provide dedicated Fixed Base Operator (FBO) operations at the airport for the first time.
Cork Airport was recognised by its peers in 2015 as offering a great product being Highly Commended in both the World Routes Marketing Awards and ACI’s Best Airports in the World (under five million passengers).
The airport was also awarded renewal of its Level 2 accreditation Reduction status under ACI Europe’s Carbon Accreditation Programme. This means that the airport continues to reduce its overall emissions and carbon footprint.
Early in the year also saw Cork Airport roll out a new brand, designed to underline the importance of differentiating what makes Cork Airport unique, its network of routes, its award-winning customer services and its position as the gateway to the south of Ireland.


Aer Lingus Regional launches a new four days a week service to Newcastle Airport and is the airline’s eighth regional route from the airport.  

Cork Airport launched an exciting new flight radar scanning feature on its mobile App. The airport was the first airport in the world to offer this feature which allows passengers to click on a flight number and track live updates of exactly where the plane is at that moment in time. 

Cork Airport was awarded first place in the Public Sector category at the Sustainable Energy Awards 2014.

Cork Airport is nominated for two awards at the inaugural Cork Digital Marketing Awards.

A new FBO service provider, EVS Aviation, opened a bespoke facility adjacent to the main terminal, providing ground handling services for General Aviation. 

Cork Airport was awarded the Customer Service Award at the inaugural Aviation Industry Awards, sponsored by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Anita Gackowska is appointed Head of Aviation Marketing while Kevin Cullinane takes up the new role of Head of Communications for Cork Airport.


Cork Airport, one of the leading supporters of The Gathering 2013, announced it would get fully behind this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Festivities by bathing the Terminal in green light.

Cork Airport is placed first for overall customer satisfaction in a respected global survey of passengers carried out by Airports Council International (ACI).
Cork Airport was nominated in the Sustainable Energy Awards 2013.

Lilibeth Horne, Head of Retail for Cork Airport is nominated for the REI Retail Manager of the Year awards.

Ryanair launches its winter 2013 schedule, with 11 routes in total, including a new winter route to East Midlands with 4 weekly flights from October 2013.

ArkeFly launched a new sun charter service from Cork Airport to a number of Mediterranean destinations this summer. 

Cork Airport announced a €2.4 million investment to upgrade its baggage security screening system to latest EU standards. 


Niall MacCarthy is appointed Airport Director at Cork Airport.

Ryanair launches a new direct from Cork to East Midlands.


On February 10, 2011, a aircraft flying from Belfast to Cork with 10 passengers and two crew on board, crashed on its third attempt to land at Cork Airport. Six people, including both pilots, died.

On October 16, 2011, Cork Airport celebrated its 50th Anniversary. A photographic exhibition is launched in the main terminal featuring many of the key milestones in the airport’s eventful history since it was officially opened in 1961.

Cork Airport successfully secured eight new routes for Summer 2011 to Fuerteventura; Gran Canaria; Milan Bergamo; Tenerife with Ryanair; Jersey; Palma Mallorca; Rennes with Aer Lingus.

Wizz Air commenced a new direct service from Cork to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, on April 16. 


Cork Airport served 2.43 million passengers in the year, a decrease of 12.4% on that achieved in 2009.

Aer Lingus launched a new twice daily service to London Gatwick. launched a twice weekly domestic route from Cork to Galway.

In September 2010 a new twice daily service between Belfast and Cork was launched by

Lilibeth Horne, Head of Retail at The Loop retail outlet at Cork was nominated as ‘March Person of the Month’ in the Cork Business Person of the Year Awards.

A new franchise agreement between Aer Lingus and Aer Arann saw the reinstatement of the Cork to

Glasgow service from Sunday, March 28, 2010.


2.77 million passengers travelled through Cork Airport, down 15% on the historic record high of 3.25 million in 2008.

Wizz Air increases its route network at Cork to five destinations with the addition of Wroclaw in Poland.

New routes introduced during the year included East Midlands (bmi baby), Lisbon (Aer Lingus) and Rennes (Aer Lingus).


Passenger numbers through Cork Airport grew by 80,000 to reach a new record 3.25 million, a 2.5% increase over 2007.

Wizz Air, a Central and Eastern European low cost airline, introduced new services from Cork to Warsaw and Poznan in Poland.

Cork Airport Authority Chairman, Joe Gantly, announced his resignation effective from the end of July by which time he had completed five years’ service with the board. 

Gerry Walsh replaces Joe Gantly as the new chairman of Cork Airport Authority.


A new record  of 3.2 million passengers is achieved at Cork Airport.

Two airlines – Air Southwest and SkyEurope - were secured to operate additional flights to Newquay and Bratislava (Vienna) respectively.


Cork Airport's new terminal building opened its doors on August 1, 2006 for arriving passengers and from August 15, 2006 for all passengers. For the first time in the airport's history, Cork Airport had over three million passengers pass through its doors in 2006, making it the Republic of Ireland's third busiest airport. 

Aer Lingus and Aer Arann were the largest operators at Cork Airport by number of aircraft movements, while Aer Lingus and Ryanair were the largest operators in terms of number of passengers. 

Several new European routes were launched including four new Polish cities thanks to the arrival of Wizz Air and Centralwings to Cork.


Joe O'Connor retires as Airport General Manager and Cork Airport Authority appoints Pat Keohane as Chief Executive


The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan TD announced the full membership of the Board-designate for the new Cork Airport Authority. Cork Airport Authority plc was incorporated on September 16, 2004.


An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD turns the first sod for the €140 million investment in a brand new terminal, multi-storey car park, new air traffic control building and a new cargo village, on June 26. 

Cork Airport reaches two million passengers in November.


Cork Airport was named as the Best Irish Airport by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs. Mary O'Rourke TD, at the annual Airline of the Year Awards. The Airline of the Year Awards are presented based on the results of a survey by Chambers Ireland's Air Transport Users Council carried out among the top 1,000 companies in Ireland


Cork Airport Great Southern Hotel opened for business March 20 - official opening on 31st May 31 by Mary O'Rourke, TD, Minister for Public Enterprise. 

Extension of northern ramp and taxiway began.

Cork Airport celebrates its 40th Anniversary.


Catering franchise split in summer of 2000 - Kylemore obtained bar and airport franchise and Alpha the flight catering. Cork Airport opened a new look Travel Value Shop in November.


Covering of asphalt overlay and other necessary work completed on main runway 17/35 in May. 

Duty Free sales within the EU ended June 30. 

Passenger traffic reached over 1.5 million at end of year.


In March, Barry Roche Airport General Manager retired and was replaced by Joe O'Connor.

Two new freight buildings completed in May. 

Further extensions to both main and freight ramps. 

Construction of Airport Business Park began in October.


The Air Navigation and Transport (Amendment) Bill 1997, provided for the transfer of Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports, currently vested in the Minister, to Aer Rianta plc. The Act rendered the company liable for corporation tax on profits from its operations.


Bond Helicopters (Ireland) Ltd awarded long-term contract by Marathon Petroleum to provide a helicopter service to their two Kinsale platforms from Cork Airport.


New Freight Terminal and Freight Ramp opened by Hugh Coveney TD, Minister of State in November.


Phase IV of the development Plan officially opened by Brian Cowen TD, Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications on October 26.


Servisair began operations in Cork in March.


Bewleys took over airport catering in January. 

Two light aircraft from Iona Flying School collided over Bandon on February 26  - one crashed and both occupants were killed. 

King Karl Gustav of Sweden inspected guard of honour at airport on April 9.

Phase III of Terminal Expansion and Development Plan completed and was officially opened by Máire Geoghan Quinn TD, Minister for Tourism and Transport.


An Taoiseach Charles Haughey TD officially opened Phase II on February 24 and also inaugurated a new Access Control Security System. 

British Airways dropped all routes from UK to Cork, Dublin and Shannon.


Phase II of Terminal Expansion and Development Plan completed.
Main ramp extension.


Dan Air ended its operation of the Cork - Gatwick route in March.

Main runway extension of 1000 feet opened July 5 by John Wilson TD, Minister for Tourism and Transport. 

Iona Airways commenced pilot training school at the airport in May. 

European College of Aeronautics opened a similar establishment in September.


Phase 1 of Terminal Expansion and Development Plan completed.

Both Dublin and Cork Airports ceased to be forecast offices for Met Eireann - Shannon Airport became the Central Aviation Forecasting Office for the three State Airports.


Final phase of security fence around the airport completed.

Accommodation in the Control Tower restructured.

Ryanair began operations at Cork on June 8.

Work began on extension of main runway in the autumn - in conjunction with this High Intensity
Approach Lights and Centre Line Lighting were installed.


Airport celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an ‘open day’. 

Two highly sophisticated Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), one serving each end of the main runway were installed.


Installation of close circuit television cameras on Control Tower enabling the entire airport area to be surveyed.

Due to phenomenal increase in passenger traffic, Aer Rianta carried out a survey of terminal with the view to carrying out a major expansion and development programme.

Air India disaster June 23 - Cork Airport operations centre of search and rescue.

Cork Air Spectacular cancelled in mid-August due to low cloud.


Aer Lingus took over commuter service to Dublin.

Gerry Holohan retired as Airport Manager and was replaced by Barry Roche.

Airport penthouse upgraded and its accommodation converted to offices.


Main car park enlarged.

Mortuary provided.

July 6 - Cork Airport operations centre for secret rescue of seaman carried out from US Nuclear submarine.


Avair commenced commuter service between Cork and Dublin on January 13.

Facilities for disabled installed at airport.

High Mast flood lighting of the apron completed.


Inaugural Dan Air Cork - London Gatwick service April 13. 
West German Chancellor Willi Brandt arrived at airport June 2.


Main apron extended. 

Erection of first phase of security fence.

Renovations carried out to Cargo Terminal and a new in-flight Catering Kitchen built.

President of German Federal Republic Karl Karstens and his wife left Cork Airport for Germany on May 1 following a three day official visit to Ireland.

National strike of Aer Lingus mechanics took place May 30 - strike ended July 4.

Albert Reynolds TD, Minister for Transport on official visit on June 5.


Whiddy Island Disaster on January 7 - Cork Airport is a refuelling centre for Air Corps, Royal Navy and Irish helicopters involved in the search and rescue.

Tax Free Shop opened in February.

President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania at airport on September 19 while on a state visit to Ireland.


Completed extensions and facilities opened by the Taoiseach Jack Lynch TD.

Members of Dutch Royal family arrived at airport on July 1 en-route to Sneem, Co. Kerry.


New Duty Free opened December 18.

Dan Air inaugural flight Cardiff/Bristol/ Cork on April 6.


British Airways commenced scheduled services on the Cork/London route formerly operated by Cambrian Airways.


Aer Rianta undertook a passenger terminal study aimed at improving the terminal facilities. The findings resulted in the provision, over the next couple of years, of new departure and arrival halls, new check-in area and office complex, new information desk and duty office and new VIP Lounge.

Brymon Airways began operations from Plymouth to Cork.


Gale force winds gusting up to 112 mph did considerable damage at airport - doors of Irish Helicopters Ltd. hangar were blown in  and Joyce Aviation hanger wrecked and several planes destroyed.


VASI Lights installed on main runway 17/35.

Airport Manager Paddy O'Grady transferred to Dublin in September, he was replaced by Gerry Holohan as Manager. 

Cork Airport rescue centre for the recovery of the Pisces III Mini-Submarine at the end of August.


First major development under Aer Rianta management - Fire Station extended, airport water supply extended, new reservoir and piping installed. 

September 8 - Duty Free shop commenced operations.


Bank of Ireland replaced Ulster Bank at the airport.


Irish Helicopters begin operations from Cork Airport.

Transfer of State staff to Aer Rianta begins.

Three Aer Lingus Boeing 707s from Boston, New York and Chicago land at Cork Airport on August 27 due to adverse weather conditions at Dublin and Shannon.


Charles de Gaulle landed at airport en route to Heron Cove Hotel near Parknasilla.


Outbreak of Foot & Mouth in UK - big effect on passenger figures in the first half of the year. Cork Airport management functions vested in Aer Rianta from Department of Transport & Power on April 1. 

Aer Lingus Viscount St. Phelim EI-AOM crashed near Tuskar Rock on Sunday, March 24 - all on board killed. 

Charlie Chaplin and wife Oonagh travel through the airport in April. 

First scheduled all-night opening on June 1.

President Lubke of German Federal Republic and his wife land on June 5. 

British Eagle ceased operating on Cork - Liverpool route in November – and files for bankruptcy. 


Cork Airport was considered by the Government as a composite project, including land acquisition, construction of runways, apron, roads, airport buildings, provision of navigational aids, etc. The estimated cost of the project as a whole, as approved by the Government, was £1 million. The final cost was £1,174,000.


President De Valera at airport on July 24 en route to Cape Clear to open Irish College.

Remains of Sister Eamon Sullivan who was expelled by the Cultural Revolutionary Guards in Peking, arrives at Cork Airport.


Cork - Manchester service inaugurated by Aer Lingus on May 31.

Arrivals hall in terminal building widened, Control Tower double glazed and VASI (Visual Slope Indicator) lights installed on Runway 25.

World War I aircraft at airport in June for the making of film The Blue Max.

Douglas Bader, famous World War II RAF fighter pilot, at airport on September 16 and made honorary life member of Munster Aero Club.


Harringtons took over airport catering from Great Southern Hotels. 

Flying club house officially opened on March 29. 

First jet to land at Cork Airport, a BOAC Comet G-APDI operated for Aer Lingus, on July 31.

British Eagle takes over Cork - Liverpool route from Starways.

Guinness Festival Clock on display at airport June/July. 

Fatal crash of private plane, a five-seater Piper Comanche on August 7 - three members of the Gaulle family from Youghal and the pilot were killed.


Aer Lingus began operating an air car ferry on Cork - Bristol route using ATL-98 Carvairs (converted DC-4s).


Great Southern Hotels appointed caterers at Cork Airport in Spring 1962. 

A Super Constellation ditched in the Atlantic September 23 - Cork Airport involved in search and rescue operations.


Proving flights by Aer Lingus and Cambrian Airways carried out on October 12. Airport officially opened on October 16.


Tenders invited for construction of airport - estimated cost £1 million

Early History


Government agrees in principle that Cork Airport should be built at Ballygarvan.


Farmers Cross airfield officially opened Sunday, May 9.


Due to rapid developments in aviation, Government requests further survey of potential airport sites. Ahanesk and Ballygarvan are now the two main site contenders.


Government approved proposal to establish a land airport for Cork - World War II breaks out in September and all airport plans are abandoned.


Branch of the Irish Aero Club formed in Cork in April.1936 - Foynes selected as seaplane base; site at Ahanesk, Midleton chosen as site for Cork Airport following survey.


Richard F. O'Connor, Cork County Surveyor makes his ideas for an airport known - aerodrome site at Belvelly and seaplane base in Cork Harbour; Cobham's Air Circus at Ballincollig July 5/6.


Beginning of decade saw transatlantic seaplane service become a reality.


First move to get an air base for Cork - Cork Harbour Commissioners invited Col. Charles Russell, former Irish Army Corps to address them.