Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Wright


This research finds that aviation delivers many economic and social benefits for a region. European airports have undergone a major business transformation over the last two decades - from facilitators of air travel to fully-fledged businesses, competing for business and traffic in a liberalised market. This study focuses on Cork International Airport, in a national and international context, to assess its infrastructural importance to the economic performance of the region. A post-positivistic approach was applied to research the topic, and interviews were conducted with relevant authorities on the subject matter. The researcher interviewed twelve contributors with a fixed list of thirteen questions. The questions were defined following the input of a focus group of individuals, with various professional backgrounds. The interview questions were tested, and the sequence corrected following a pilot interview.

The study finds that Cork Airport is well positioned for sustainable growth into the future, however, it does need the support of its parent company and local stakeholders to deliver routes for the region. Cork Airport has experienced challenges in the past but has a passionate and committed management team who wish to drive economic development in the region, collaboratively, with key stakeholders.

The study has found that there is a commitment from local representative groups to support the airport in their efforts, however, there is a brand deficit in Cork. This needs to be addressed to further advance the efforts and to reinforce Cork Airport as the second largest airport in the Republic of Ireland. The study finds that the airlines directly influence the performance of an airport and will only introduce new routes if there is clear evidence that a demand exists. The research reveals that domestic air travel is unsustainable and that the focus for Cork should be on developing its European network and convincing an established Full Service Carrier [ESC] to support its transatlantic aspirations. Despite the lack of strategic thinking from policy makers, with regards to a combined national aviation and transport strategy, Cork Airport stands to benefit, organically, from proposed infrastructural developments in the region.

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