Cork Airport welcomed more than 2.23 million passengers during 2016, representing an increase of eight per cent compared to 2015. Last year also saw the addition of nine new routes and three new airlines at the airport, with passenger growth on routes to and from Spain and Portugal experiencing significant increases of 13.5 per cent and 35.5 per cent respectively.
UK routes also saw an increase of seven per cent, however Germany saw the biggest rise with an increase of 75 per cent in passenger growth, helped by the addition of a new Düsseldorf service and the strong performance of the German inbound market.
"We are very pleased with our overall performance last year. We have been working hard over recent years implementing our return to growth strategy and we saw the first fruits of this work in 2016. Central to our strategy is attracting new routes and new airlines while building frequencies and capacity on existing services, which we did with great success in 2016. We launched several new routes to destinations such as Cardiff, La Rochelle, Southampton, Nantes and Madrid among others and welcomed CityJet, Flybe and Iberia Express as our newest airline partners," said Kevin Cullinane, head of communications at Cork Airport.
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He added that "2017 is shaping up to be another positive year with predicted passenger growth of 5%".
Meanwhile, International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways and Aer Lingus, enjoyed a record-breaking year as it carried more than 100 million passengers in 2016, up by 14 per cent compared to 2015.
IAG's chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: "This month, IAG celebrates its sixth birthday and our airlines continue to go from strength to strength. Last year we carried more passengers than ever before with our flights 81.6 per cent full. In addition, Iberia was the most punctual major global airline in 2016 and its subsidiary Iberia Express was the best performing low-cost carrier in the world. Huge credit should be given to the team at Iberia which, following restructuring, has become both financially and operationally stronger."