Cork Airport has welcomed the announcement that Aer Lingus is to operate a new Düsseldorf service for summer 2016. The new service, which will commence in May, will operate twice weekly on Wednesday and Sunday.The announcement was made by Paschal Donohoe TD, the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport.
Düsseldorf is located in the centre of the Rhine-Ruhr region, Germany’s largest metropolitan area, with a population of about 11 million people.
Niall MacCarthy, Cork Airport Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that Aer Lingus has added Düsseldorf to its schedule of services from Cork Airport; it is great news for business and leisure passengers in the region.”
Germany is the third largest market for visitors to Ireland and Düsseldorf is also a significant international business and financial centre. “We expect there to be strong demand for this route from both inbound and outbound passengers,” added Niall. “We already have 50 routes from Cork Airport, making us the largest airport outside of Dublin, and this new service to Düsseldorf is further recognition of our status as a key gateway in and out of the South of Ireland.”
Düsseldorf will be Aer Lingus’s second German destination from Cork Airport, as the airline also serves Munich on a year-round basis.
“Expanding our connectivity into Germany has been a key target for Cork Airport,” according to Niall MacCarthy. “We have been working hard with key tourism stakeholders both locally and in Germany to secure this new route and credit is due to all of those involved for their tireless efforts working with us to secure the new Düsseldorf service.
“Aer Lingus put the challenge to us to prove that there is demand for a new Cork-Düsseldorf route and to show it would be properly supported and marketed both here and in Germany. I am delighted to say Cork Airport, the region and tourism stakeholders rose to that challenge. In that regard, I am grateful to these stakeholders including Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, Cork Chamber of Commerce, Cork Business Association, Tourism Ireland, IDA Ireland, Irish Travel Agents Association, Irish Tour Operators Association, Irish Hotels Federation and the Cork Convention Bureau, together with others who assisted with the process.
“With this coalition, we have convinced a number of German tour operators to include Cork in their programme of destinations for 2016 and this helped underline the commitment that there is to this new service in terms of inbound tourism.”
The collaborative model used to win the new Düsseldorf service for Cork has potential to deliver additional new services for the airport and the region, Niall added. “The success of securing the new Düsseldorf route is proof that when all of us involved in the travel and tourism sector come together and work as a team, we can do great things for the region. I have no doubt that now we have created a model that works for all stakeholders, we will see further additional new routes for Cork Airport over the coming months.”
Kevin Toland, daa Chief Executive, also welcomed the announcement of the new Aer Lingus Cork – Düsseldorf service. “This is the second new route for Cork Airport announced within the past week, and our team in Cork are continuing to seek out new opportunities with additional services with both existing and new customer airlines.”
Stephen Kavanagh, Aer Lingus Chief Executive, said: “Aer Lingus is proud to be Cork’s largest airline with over 1.25 million guests flying annually to and from the 22 destinations on our network. We are delighted to be able to expand that offering and look forward to working with the airport, the tourism agencies and our other partners in the Munster and Düsseldorf regions to make this new route a success.”
Last year, more than 560,000 Germans visited Ireland and increasing visitor numbers from Germany is a key target for the Irish tourist industry. Germany is the world’s largest outbound tourism market. German visitors to Ireland typically stay an average of almost 10 nights here and almost 10% stay for 15 nights or more.
Düsseldorf Airport is Germany’s third largest, handling 21.8 million passengers last year. It has excellent connectivity to the rest of Germany with more than 400 trains per day stopping at one of its two onsite train stations, offering convenient direct mainline trains to many other German cities or a suburban rail option into the city centre.