A new analysis by Cork Chamber which gathered insight into Cork businesses’ travel patterns shows the importance of Cork Airport to the local economy and business community.
A survey carried out in February-March 2019 reveals that 25% of responding companies each took more than 100 business trips from Cork Airport over the course of 2018.
Approximately a quarter of all business trips from Cork were long-haul flights with 60% of businesses opting to connect from Cork Airport through London Heathrow for onward connections. Amsterdam Schiphol was the second most popular connection hub, followed by long-haul flights from Dublin Airport.
From a business perspective, the greatest uptake of the new routes has been on Air France’s twice daily connection to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport, which was been used by 61% of responding businesses. 35% of respondents have utilised the thrice-weekly connection to Zurich with SWISS.
The survey also captured demand for future route development. Within Europe, Frankfurt, Brussels and Berlin are the most desired destinations among Cork businesses.
For long-haul connectivity, New York remains the most wanted US destination within the local business community.
When asked to rate their satisfaction with Cork Airport, car parking, customer service and ease of use all received top marks from the business community. Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents rated Cork Airport’s ease of use as outstanding. However, route offering was flagged as an area of concern from a business perspective, particularly in relation to central European connectivity.
Commenting on the findings, Paula Cogan, Cork Chamber President, said: “Our survey shows the unquestionable importance of international connectivity through Cork Airport to business in Cork. While inbound traffic support thousands of jobs within the hospitality industry in Cork and the wider Southern region, outbound access through Cork Airport is critical to the FDI sector employing 38,000 people in Cork and for opening global business opportunities for indigenous businesses. In this respect we welcome new route announcements, but we must make sure that new routes also meet business need and not only the leisure market.”
“The analysis of business demand shows that there are destinations of need not currently served from Cork. We look forward to working with the airport team on achieving these destinations, principally New York and Frankfurt which are consistently flagged as key business routes by our members. With an ambitious strategy in place to grow passenger numbers, it is critical that State investment also supports the development of further capacity at Cork Airport and the economic growth potential in this region so that together we can strengthen international business links from Cork.”
Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport, added: “Cork Airport is in its fourth consecutive year of growth, with passenger numbers forecasted to grow by a further 8% to 2.6 million this year. This positions Cork Airport as the fastest growing airport in the Republic of Ireland this year. We can also lay claim to being the most punctual as measured by global aviation analysts OAG which means your flight is more likely to take off on time in Cork than any other airport on the island of Ireland. We continue to work with our airline customers to expand the route network from Cork even further and look forward to the ongoing support of the business and wider community across the south of Ireland to sustain these routes and those in the pipeline.”