Kerry Airport plans overhaul of arrivals and departures area

New facilities are being designed to cope with increased passenger demand, airport says

Kerry Airport in Farranfore. Brexit is going to be a big problem,” says Basil Sheerin, the airport’s financial controller. Photograph: Nigel Cox/Kerry Airport

Kerry Airport in Farranfore. Brexit is going to be a big problem,” says Basil Sheerin, the airport’s financial controller. Photograph: Nigel Cox/Kerry Airport

 

A new arrivals hall and an expanded departures area with a bar and restaurant is planned for Kerry Airport to accommodate increased passenger numbers, the airport’s agm has heard.

Reviewing 2017, airport management noted passenger numbers increased by 3 per cent to almost 336,000 compared to 2016.

It is expected the new arrivals hall and departures lounge, currently in the design phase, could be operational by 2019.

However, further connections with the UK had been halted on the back of Brexit-related concerns from airlines, the meeting in Tralee was told.

“Brexit is going to be a big problem... No one wants to risk anything in relation to the UK right now, until the lay of the land with Brexit is seen,” said Basil Sheerin, the airport’s financial controller.

Last year the airport boosted operating profit to €744,748, up from €267,137 in 2016 while turnover increased marginally to €6.34 million, Denis Cregan, the airport chairman, said.

Grant aid

Like other regional airports, Kerry Airport is reliant on grant aid, and last year achieved funding of €1.07 million from the Department of Transport and Tourism, up from €626,855 in 2016.

As well as high numbers on the London Stansted, London Luton and Frankfort Hahn routes, the important regional route from Kerry to Dublin had also seen increased demand.

Stobart Air, which operates the route on behalf of Aer Lingus, has introduced larger 70-seat aircraft after passenger numbers reached 51,000 in 2017.

Mr Sheerin said in addition to the extra capacity on the route, a third daily flight operated commercially and outside the public service contract was viable.

Given the level of grant aid received by the facility, it wouldn’t be “appropriate” to give shareholders a dividend, attendees at the agm were told.