Cork Airport

Cork Airport
Cork Airport
Aerfort Chorcaí
Cork logo new.gif
Cork Airport Terminal Landside.jpg
ORK is located in Ireland
Location of airport in Ireland
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Ireland
Operator DAA
Serves Cork City, Cork and Ireland
Location Ballygarvan, County Cork
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 502 ft / 153 m
Coordinates 51°50′29″N 008°29′28″W / 51.84139°N 8.49111°W / 51.84139; -8.49111 (Cork Airport)Coordinates: 51°50′29″N 008°29′28″W / 51.84139°N 8.49111°W / 51.84139; -8.49111 (Cork Airport)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
17/35 2,133 6,998 Asphalt
07/25 1,310 4,298 Concrete/Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 2,425,131
Passenger change 09-10 decrease12.4%
Aircraft Movements 48,289
Movements change 09-10 decrease8.5%
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 2010, Cork Airport handled 2.43 million passengers,[3] making it the Republic of Ireland's second busiest airport in terms of passenger numbers, after Dublin, and fourth busiest on the island of Ireland, after Dublin, Belfast International and Belfast City.



1957 to 1979

In 1957 the Government of Ireland agreed in principle to the building of an airport for Cork City. 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 (later taken over by British Airways). Vincent Fanning was the first manager at the airport [1]. 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 (BOAC) 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 and office complex, a new information desk, duty office and executive lounge. The newly completed extensions and facilities were officially opened in 1978.

1979 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. In 1988 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. The Terminal Expansion and Development Plan was completed in 1994.

2001 to date

Inside the airport terminal, viewing the check-in area.

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 those 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.

In 2005, Ryanair opened its fifteenth European base and second Irish base at Cork.

The new terminal opened on 15 August 2006. Designed by HOK and Jacobs Engineering Group, the new terminal is 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 in order to secure independence from Dublin Airport. This was despite government commitments that the Cork Airport Authority would be established on a debt-free basis.[5] 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 5 years service with the board. The current chairmain of Cork Airport Authority is Gerry Walsh.[6]

New control tower

View of the arrivals hall from Level 2 (Departures Floor)

The Irish Aviation Authority completed a new control tower 1 km from the old terminal at Cork Airport to the west of the Airport. The total cost was €7.5 million 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 00.01am.[7]

General aviation and business jets

Cork Airport has a long tradition 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 a lot of business jets and they are parked near the short-term car park (beside the old terminal) they are very dominant at the airport. Since Bombardier (Bombardier Aerospace) jets are made in Northern Ireland a lot of deliveries take place at various Irish airports including Cork Airport.

Geographical situation

View of the main door

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 a regular basis and usually only operate on ad-hoc charter services for flights to various matches involving 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[8] and the Shannon Airport Authority.[9] These companies were charged with preparing a business plan in preparation for taking over the assets of their airports from the DAA.

On dates yet to be confirmed, the Cork and Shannon Airport Authorities will have the relevant airport assets vested in them and assume full responsibility for the management, development and operation of Cork and Shannon airports respectively. In the interim, the board of the DAA has transferred significant day-to-day operational responsibility, under delegated authority, to the boards of the Cork and Shannon Airport Authorities.

Passenger facilities

The new 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. There are also Wireless Internet Network services available on a free basis for passengers.

Free internet access is 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 Radisson Blu Hotel located directly opposite the terminal on airport grounds.

Development plans

View of the arrivals hall.

Cork Airport has, development plans that will effectively treble the size of the current airport, the airport will be developed over a phased basis from 2015 in phases numbered below.

1) The Cargo area (Currently located to the North East of the airport) will be moved to the South East of the airport south of Runway 25, the current location of the General Aviation area. In moving here the General Aviation area will be moved directly opposite to the South West of airport just south of Runway 7, work is expected to begin in 2016.[10]
2) Using space from the removal of the Cargo Area the main Terminal will be extended, allowing new fixed gates to be built, effectively doubling the current space for scheduled and charter aircraft using Cork. The old Terminal will be demolished allowing the Terminal to extend also, This means that there is now the provision of two Terminal extensions. These are the extension of the new Terminal out over the cargo area, and the extension of the new Terminal onto the current old Terminal, work is expected to begin in 2017, with the demolition of the old Terminal and work on extending the Terminal will begin when passenger numbers begin to exceed 3m (the current limit of the new Terminal).[11]
3) The main Runway 17/35 will be extended, feasibility studies will be carried out in 2012 after work begins on Phases 1 & 2. This will allow for the provision of Long Haul aircraft (747, 777, A340) to use the airport, work will begin on the extension of the runway when phases 1 & 2 are active.[12]

4) The Road network, Public transport infrastructure will be developed as soon as phases 1 & 2 become active. This will comprise of the renovation of the main N27 which serves the airport to Motorway standard of 3 x 3 lanes in each direction (1 on each side a designated bus lane). A new road will be built from the South link roundabout near Cork University Hospital and Togher, to the Airport. The main roundabout will be enlarged with under-passes to allow traffic from Cork to Kinsale, or Kinsale to Cork to avoid the roundabout allowing extra capacity on the main roundabout. Work on the renovation of the Roundabout will begin in 2015, but the new roads and upgrade roads will not begin until phases 1 & 2 are active.[13]

Airlines and destinations

Aer Lingus Airbus A320 taxiing to the terminal
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 from onboard, with Aer Lingus Regional ATR 72-500 taxiing
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 on Stand 7
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 being pushed back.

[14] [15]

Note: denotes charter airlines and their destinations

Airlines Destinations
Aer Lingus Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt [begins 26 March], Lanzarote, London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow, Málaga, Munich, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino
Seasonal: Alicante, Faro, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Lisbon, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South
Seasonal Charter: Salzburg [begins 24 December]
Aer Lingus Regional
operated by Aer Arann
Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, Manchester
Seasonal: Jersey, Rennes
Air Europa Seasonal: Gran Canaria, Lanzarote
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas
Europe Airpost Seasonal: Dubrovnik, Heraklion
Holidays Czech Airlines Seasonal: Palma de Mallorca [begins 26 May] Newcastle upon Tyne
Mistral Air Seasonal: Verona
Monarch Seasonal: Faro, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Reus
Onur Air Seasonal: Bodrum, İzmir
Orbest Orizonia Airlines Lanzarote
Ryanair Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Stansted, Málaga, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Alicante, Bordeaux, Carcassonne, Faro, Gran Canaria, La Rochelle, Milan-Bergamo, Reus
Tailwind Airlines Seasonal: İzmir
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Lanzarote
Travel Service Seasonal: Lanzarote
Wizz Air Gdańsk, Katowice, Poznań, Vilnius, Warsaw, Wrocław



Airlines Destinations
FedEx Feeder Dublin, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Shannon


Passenger numbers

Passenger numbers at Cork Airport increased every year during the 10 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 two years to around 2.4 million in 2010.[3]

Year Passengers Passengers
YoY %
1998 1,315,224 -
1999 1,501,974 increase14.2
2000 1,680,160 increase11.9
2001 1,775,817 increase05.7
2002 1,874,447 increase05.6
2003 2,182,157 increase16.4
2004 2,254,251 increase03.3
2005 2,729,906 increase21.1
2006 3,010,575 increase10.3
2007 3,180,259 increase05.6
2008 3,258,639 increase02.5
2009 2,769,048 decrease15.0
2010 2,425,131 decrease12.4
1998-2001 - Aer Rianta[17]
2002-2005 - DAA[18]
2006-2009 - DAA[19]
2010 -[3]

Busiest routes

Flight Arrivals & Departures Screen.

In addition to the 171,000 passengers travelling on routes within Ireland during 2010,[20] the following table shows the number of passengers on non-domestic routes at the airport during the period.

10 Busiest international routes at Cork Airport (2010)
Rank Airport Passengers handled
1  United Kingdom - London Heathrow 395,117
2  United Kingdom - London Stansted 205,333
3  United Kingdom - London Gatwick 188,177
4  Netherlands - Amsterdam 149,871
5  Spain - Malaga 106,490
6  United Kingdom - Liverpool 96,709
7  France - Paris Charles de Gaulle 92,857
8  United Kingdom - Birmingham 82,192
9  United Kingdom - Manchester 80,116
10  Spain - Lanzarote 70,978
Source: Central Statistics Office (Ireland) [21]

Ground transport

Bus, train
Means of transport at Cork Airport
Means of transport Operator Route Destination Website Notes
Bus Bus Bus Éireann 226 Cork Kent railway station
Bus Éireann 249 Garretstown via Kinsale
Bus Éireann 252 Cork Parnell Bus Station Summer only
Bus Éireann 252 Kenmare via Kinsale Summer only
Citylink 4 Galway via Limerick, Mallow and Cork City Centre

The airport is also served by taxi. There is a taxi rank located outside the arrivals entrance.


Cork Airport is conveniently located just 8 kilometres from Cork City Centre on the south end of the N27, when coming from the North, West, or East of Cork and off the R600 when coming from Kinsale. The M8 motorway provides a link to the airport for north-east County Cork and County Tipperary.

Car hire

Car hire is available in the arrivals hall of the terminal building, with nine car rental firms located at the airport.

Car parking

Cork Airport Authority operates all Car Parks at Cork Airport and offers both short-term and long-term parking within the airport campus with over 4,600 spaces available in total. Special rates are available for frequent users of car parking facilities at Cork Airport. All car parks operate 24 hours and are regularly patrolled by Airport Police (Ireland).

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 including crew died on board.
  • On 10 February 2011, a Flight Avia Metroliner SW4, with flight number NM7100, operating for Manx2 from Belfast-City to Cork crashed on landing, killing six people and injuring a further six. The commuter flight from Belfast had 10 passengers and two crew on board when it crashed in heavy fog at 9.45am. It was reported that it was the aircraft's third attempt at landing in foggy conditions. The aircraft registered EC-ITP, ended up upside down adjacent to taxiway C (Charlie) just past the turnpad at Runway 17.[22][23]
  • On 22 May 2011, at around 4.30pm a man approached a member of the Garda Síochána in Cork City Centre who was sitting in his traffic corp jeep. The man got into the vehicle began to beat up the Garda, produced a knife, before slashing his face, the Garda then jumped from his jeep. The man then hijacked the Garda's traffic corps jeep before, hitting vehicles en-route to Cork Airport while Gardaí gave chase. At around 4.50pm the man arrived at Cork Airport, rammed through the perimeter fence near the Cargo terminal (Gate 19), before abandoning the Garda jeep after it broke down, he then again produced a knife, and again hijacked a vehicle which belonged to the Airport Fire Service, by this time Air Traffic Control had suspended all operations. The man began to drive erratically coming into close contact with a Thomas Cook flight driving underneath the aircraft at high speed, the incident was captured on YouTube by a passenger waiting to board a flight.[24] The man proceeded to ram several Garda and airport vehicles, before attempting to ram an Aer Lingus aircraft bound for Amsterdam. The man's vehicle stalled which prevented him from ramming the Aer Lingus jet, the jeep halted just feet from the Airbus A320-200 aircraft, where members of the Armed Gardaí subdued the man by tasering him, during the chase in the airport another Garda was injured and transported to hospital after his car was rammed by the assailant. Flights where resumed after the man was removed from airport property and the perimeter secured.[25][26][27][28]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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