Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 18 February, 1999
Written Answers. - Air Services.
Mr. J. O'Keeffe Mr. J. O'Keeffe
 8. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Public Enterprise her policy on the future of Cork Airport. [4548/99]
Mrs. O'Rourke Mrs. O'Rourke
Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): My policy is to ensure the continued development of Cork Airport as an essential transport facility, serving the growing business and tourist needs of the south-east into the next millennium. A number of positive developments recently have underlined the success of this policy.
Cork Airport has a strong growth record, with passenger numbers now growing at a double digit rate. Traffic grew by 10 per cent in 1998 and, already in 1999, January showed an 18.5 per cent increase over the corresponding month in the previous year. During 1998, two direct flights linking Cork with Amsterdam and Paris were introduced by Aer Lingus and a daily Cork to Belfast service was also reintroduced by Jersey European. I am confident that this trend in strong growth will continue at Cork into the coming year.
Deputies may already be aware that Aer Rianta recently announced that, from 28 March next, Cork Airport will be open for 24 hours a day. This is a welcome development for the south-east region, as it is expected that up to 40 new jobs will be created and that new opportunities for further additional passenger and cargo traffic will arise from the airport's new status.
In order to cope with increasing demands at the airport, capital development at Cork has proceeded apace, with Aer Rianta investing some £25 million over the last ten years. A £28 million development programme is planned for the five year period to the year 2002. Proposed projects include the overlay and widening of the runway and the provision of further airside and landside facilities, improvements which are designed to keep pace with traffic demands and to act as an incentive to new economic activity at the airport and in the Cork region generally.
As a further traffic growth incentive, the generous five year discount scheme for airport charges continues to be available at Cork Airport, which means that any airline which increases it s passenger numbers on existing flights out of Cork in 1999 or commences new flights will not be liable to any airport charges for the next three years, and will enjoy a 50 per cent discount for a further two years.
Dáil Éireann 500 Written Answers. Air Services.