Aer Lingus Regional Reveals Cork Airport Expansion

Aer Lingus Regional is to further expand its activities out of the Republic of Ireland with the expansion of its summer 2014 flight schedule from Cork Airport.  The carrier’s franchise partner, Aer Arann, will launch a new direct service to Newcastle in the UK and an additional 50,000 seats across its UK and French network.

The new link to the North East English city of Newcastle will ensure that air services on the route.  UK low-fare carrier Jet2.com has been serving this market since October 2005 but is no longer accepting bookings beyond late March 2014.  Aer Lingus Regional will offer four rotations per week, doubling the current frequency of the route, although it will be using a smaller aircraft compared to the 737-300 currently flown by Jet2.com. 

According to data from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) 21,700 passengers flew on the Cork – Newcastle route in 2012.  This was up on the numbers recorded in the three previous years but down from the mid to high 30,000s being recorded in 2007 and 2008.

“These flights will also open up new business opportunities, especially given the oil and gas exploration which is taking place off the Irish coast.  We will definitely see an increase in the number Irish tourists coming across to explore North East England,” said Chris Sanders, aviation development director, Newcastle International Airport.

Alongside the Newcastle link, the airline’s Manchester service will increase from two to three times daily, its Bristol services will go double daily and there will also be increased flights to Rennes in France. These services will be operated by a brand new next generation ATR 72-600 turboprop which is scheduled for delivery ahead of the summer schedule.

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,” he said.

In total 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 help the recovery in the market for inbound UK tourism to the Cork region.

“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.  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,” added MacCarthy.

The arrival of new ATR 72-600 turboprops is providing Aer Arann with the capacity to expand its offering under the Aer Lingus Regional umbrella.  It has already announced an increased schedule from Shannon Airport and this is unlikely to be the last new route announcement.  The airline’s chief commercial officer, Simon Fagan said the 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.  “We are determined to grow both our passenger numbers and route network,” he said.

Cork had been an important part of the Aer Arann network before it started exclusively flying for Aer Lingus Regional, but the national carrier has been the dominant carrier at the regional airport over the past ten years.  In the table below we look in greater detail at the operations of the carrier at Cork and the services under the ‘EI’ code.

SCHEDULED AER LINGUS FLIGHTS FROM CORK AIRPORT (non-stop annual departures)

Year

Destinations

% Change

Frequencies

% Change

Seat Capacity

% Change

2013

23

(-8.0) %

6,340

(-8.7) %

848,262

(-9.0) %

2012

25

4.2 %

6,943

4.2 %

931,764

3.0 %

2011

24

-

6,662

7.6 %

904,290

(-5.4) %

2010

24

26.3 %

6,193

30.7 %

956,218

7.6 %

2009

19

-

4,740

(-2.0) %

888,942

(-1.6) %

2008

19

5.6 %

4,837

5.5 %

903,160

10.7 %

2007

18

5.9 %

4,587

19.7 %

815,884

29.7 %

2006

17

54.5 %

3,831

21.7 %

628,991

28.1 %

2005

11

57.1 %

3,148

30.8 %

491,163

20.2 %

2004

7

40.0 %

2,406

(-23.6) %

408,688

(-13.2) %

2003

5

-

3,149

-

471,096

-


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