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Aer Lingus Regional Announce Expansion At Cork Airport

18 December 2013

Significant Boost For Cork Airport As Aer Lingus Regional Announces New Route and 50,000 Extra Seats

•    Aer Lingus Regional To Expand Cork Operation By 25%

Wednesday, December 18th 2013: Cork Airport welcomed today’s announcement that Aer Lingus Regional is to expand its services from the airport with a new route to the UK and an additional 50,000 seats across its UK and French network for next summer.

The expansion includes a new Aer Lingus Regional service to Newcastle, which will operate four times per week, the airline’s Manchester service will increase from two to three times daily, the Bristol services will go double daily and there will also be increased flights to Rennes in France. These services will be operated by a new generation ATR72 aircraft which Aer Lingus Regional will take delivery of in time for Summer 2014.

Welcoming this important expansion by Aer Lingus Regional in Cork, Airport Director, Niall MacCarthy said that the announcement provides a significant boost to the regional economy in terms of business connectivity to Britain, which is Ireland’s strongest trading partner, as well as a major impetus to developing inbound leisure and business tourism in the south of Ireland.

“This is an excellent development for Cork Airport and the customers we serve. All three UK destinations have much to offer Irish passengers from both a business and a leisure perspective and the extra capacity will also be hugely beneficial for tourism across the wider south of Ireland region,” according to Mr MacCarthy.

He said: “Aer Lingus Regional will grow the number of departures from Cork Airport from 50 to 63 each week, providing 50,000 extra seats in and out of the region. This along with the additional 50,000 seats recently announced by Aer Lingus on the Heathrow route for Summer 2014 will sow the seeds for recovery in the market for inbound UK tourism to the Cork region. The announcement underscores Aer Lingus Regional’s strong commitment to Cork Airport and the customers we jointly serve and confirms Cork’s status as the Republic of Ireland’s second largest airport serving 2.3 million passengers annually. We look forward to further announcements of expansion and growth on our route network in 2014.

“We will be working in partnership with Aer Lingus Regional to ensure we achieve strong awareness of what Cork City, County and Harbour have to offer the UK Visitor as well as being the start point for the new Wild Atlantic Way route. The additional UK capacity will also be a boost for the development of Cork’s growing convention and business tourism numbers, with direct access from the UK’s largest metropolitan cities outside of London served direct by Aer Lingus Regional”.

Aer Arann’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simon Fagan said its Cork expansion programme was a key part of the airline’s growth plan, and will provide further choice for passengers flying to and from the region. Mr Fagan said: “We are delighted to announce our Cork expansion programme. The airline is determined to grow both our passenger numbers and route network. The addition of a new service to Newcastle and increasing of our capacity on three key routes from Cork, provides real choice to the travelling public, and will serve to bring visitors to the region.”

The Cork Business Association (CBA) welcomed the news for the Munster and the South West. “This expansion by Aer Lingus Regional will further enhance the tourist numbers coming directly into Cork and every business will have opportunity to benefit from the extra consumer spend it will bring to the region. It will also sustain and grow employment in our local economy,” said Donal Healy, CEO Cork Business Association.

Also welcoming the announcement, Michael Magner, Chairman of the Cork Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation said that any new route that brings more visitors to Cork is a very positive development. He noted the fact that recent CSO visitor figures suggest that the UK market, which is Ireland’s primary provider of international visitors, is starting to show signs of growth.

Congratulating the efforts by the team at Cork Airport, Mr Magner also said that while hotels are working very hard to promote tourism overseas there is also a responsibility on Tourism Ireland to leverage air access into the south of Ireland to promote the region internationally in key source markets for inbound tourism. “We must leverage this increased air connectivity and every effort must be made to stimulate demand from key international markets to attract more tourists to our region. This marketing effort must be meticulous,” he added.

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