Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr. Paschal Donohoe, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he recognises that reducing passenger numbers at Cork Airport needs to be addressed by a change in aviation policy; the measures he plans to take in order to assist in facilitating an increase in passenger numbers at Cork Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 17, June, 2015.
The draft National Aviation Policy, which I intend to publish before the summer recess, sets out Government policy in relation to Cork Airport’s role as a key tourism and business gateway for its region, making particular reference to the development of key niche markets.
In line with the policy, our focus has been on exploiting the opportunity to grow inbound tourists to the Cork region, particularly in view of the fact that only 37% of Cork Airport’s passengers are inbound.
Following the successful ‘Grow Dublin Taskforce’, both local authorities, with Fáilte Ireland, are progressing a similar initiative to prepare a cohesive strategic plan for the development of Cork’s tourism potential. This strategy will focus on identifying and addressing Cork’s opportunities for growth and is due to be completed by November.
DAA, along with Cork Airport management, are also working to stabilise passenger numbers and return Cork Airport to growth. Indeed, following on from the Government’s decision in relation to the IAG/Aer Lingus issue, I understand that there will be an announcement shortly with regard to a new service from the Airport.
However, local support in the region is a crucial component of any initiatives to reverse the current decline. It was disappointing that lack of support for the planned Cork-Prague and Cork-Ibiza routes was the reason cited by Czech Airlines for its decision not to commence operations on the routes.
The National Aviation Policy cannot address the issue of local support for the Airport. That is a matter for the people and businesses in the region. However, such support is critical to ensure the Airport’s future sustainability.