Cork Airport, (Irish: Aerfort Chorcaí) (IATA: ORK, ICAO: 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) south of Cork City in an area known as Farmers Cross. In 2010, Cork Airport handled 2.43 million passengers, 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.

History
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 . 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 (Dublin Airport 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

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. 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.

New control tower

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.

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

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.

Operator

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 and the Shannon Airport Authority. 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

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.

Building Activity

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