Cork Airport to undertake runway reconstruction project in 2021
With passenger numbers so low, Cork Airport has deemed it to make the most business sense to undertake the runway reconstruction project at a time where it will cause the least amount of disruption.
Credit: Cork Airport
Cork Airport has (ORK) announced that it is progressing at pace its critical long-term capital infrastructure programme during 2021 given the decimating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the aviation industry.
With passengers numbers currently down by 99 per cent at the airport, it makes prudent business sense to fast-track major capital investment projects now, while the airport is extremely quiet.
Management at Cork Airport has been engaged with all of its major stakeholders, including Ryanair, in relation to the runway reconstruction and remediation project since the autumn of 2020. The majority of its airline customers are strongly in favour of the runway work being undertaken during 2021.
This runway reconstruction project is vital for the future of the airport and Cork Airport’s aim is to complete the works with the least possible disruption and at the lowest cost. The reconstruction of the main runway, when completed in late 2021, will be a key strategic asset for the South of Ireland for the next 20 years.
Cork Airport consulted more than a dozen other international airports in the UK and continental Europe which have completed similar runway projects in recent years. Airports adopt a range of technical solutions and working windows, but the aim is always the same – to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, using the optimum technical solution, at the lowest cost.
A number of options are being considered in the context of stakeholder views, with particular regard to the recovery of traffic with the airport’s major airline customers. This will be the key determinant to the delivery of these works so that Cork Airport can complete the runway project in the most effective and efficient manner. Public tendering commenced in November 2020 in accordance with European Union (EU) procurement guidelines for a project of this scale, and the airport plans to be in a position to award the contract in May 2021.
Cork Airport has been talking to airlines, including Ryanair, in relation to the types of incentive schemes that the airport can offer to enable all of the stakeholders to work together to build back their respective businesses. The airport will be tabling a generous incentive scheme – which will make charges at Cork Airport cheaper than those at Dublin Airport – to Ryanair and other customers. Charges at Cork Airport have not increased in more than 14 years.
Cork Airport was the fastest-growing airport in Ireland in 2019, and management is focussed on working with the airport’s airlines and partners to secure strong passenger growth post-pandemic.