Waterford Airport

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Waterford Airport

Aerfort Phort Láirge
WRA logo.jpg
Aircraft at Waterford Airport.jpg
Summary
Airport typePublic
OperatorWaterford Regional Airport
ServesWaterford, Ireland
LocationKillowen
Elevation AMSL119 ft / 36 m
Coordinates52°11′14″N 007°05′13″W / 52.18722°N 7.08694°W / 52.18722; -7.08694 (Waterford Airport)Coordinates: 52°11′14″N 007°05′13″W / 52.18722°N 7.08694°W / 52.18722; -7.08694 (Waterford Airport)
Websiteflywaterford.com
Map
Waterford Airport is located in Ireland
Waterford Airport
Waterford Airport
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03/21 1,433 (1,585) 4,701 (5,200) Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passengers2,249
Passenger change 16–17Decrease85.1
Sources: Airport website,[1] official site</ref> Irish AIS[2] Passengers[3]

Waterford Airport (Irish: Aerfort Phort Láirge) (IATA: WAT, ICAO: EIWF) is located in Killowen, 4 NM (7.4 km; 4.6 mi)[2] southeast of Waterford. It serves southeastern Ireland. The airport is operated by Waterford Regional Airport plc.

Its single scheduled route, operated by VLM Airlines—which used Waterford as its only Irish airport and kept a base there—was discontinued from 13 June 2016 as VLM went out of business, leaving the airport without any scheduled traffic.

On 11 June 2019, the Irish government approved a grant of €5 million together with €7 million from local investors and councils. Included in this, is the extension and widening of the existing runway to 2280 metres x 45 metres wide (bigger than the runway at Cork Airport)[4] along with taxiway widening and terminal extension[5] to cater for larger airlines such as Ryanair & Aer Lingus. This extension hopes to boost tourism in the county of Waterford and will hopefully generate more revenue for the county in the long run.

The airport is targeting spring 2021 for the commencement of commercial flight on the newly extended runway.[6]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The airport's development was initiated by Waterford Corporation, with support from the Government of Ireland and the private sector, in 1979–1980. The investment was £1.76 million.

Waterford Airport opened in 1981, with a 1,200 by 29 m (3,937 by 95 ft) runway for single and twin-engine light aircraft and a portable cabin as the terminal building. The current terminal building was opened in 1992, and the runway was lengthened to 1,433 by 30 m (4,701 by 98 ft). Avair provided the first domestic passenger service in 1982, as a stop between Cork and Dublin Airport. In 1985, Ryanair launched the company's first international scheduled service from Waterford to London Gatwick.

Development since the 2000s[edit]

Waterford Airport celebrated 21 years of scheduled operations in 2006. On 13 March 2007, a €27.5 million upgrade of the airport was announced. Over the next two years the money would be spent on extending the runway to 7,300 feet (2,200 m) in length, building a new passenger terminal capable of handling one million passengers a year, and introducing scheduled flights to European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Prague and Rome. There was also an expectation of charter flights to Mediterranean holiday resorts. The expansion would mean that air travellers in the southeast of Ireland would have a "credible alternative" to Dublin and Cork airports, according to officials at Waterford Airport. According to the chief executive of Waterford Airport, Graham Doyle, the extended runway was to be in place by summer 2009 and capable of handling large jet aircraft, including the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.[7]

The fully upgraded and remodelled connecting regional road, R708, from Waterford city to the airport was completed in early July 2008, reducing the journey time from Waterford city centre to the airport to 10 minutes at off-peak times, and from the outer ring road, R470, to the airport to 5 minutes.

Passenger numbers through Waterford Airport slumped in 2009, owing to the suspension of routes to Bordeaux, Faro, Málaga and Amsterdam, and to service reductions on routes to Birmingham, London Luton and Manchester. Overall passenger numbers from the UK fell by 9%.[8]

2010 to present[edit]

In February 2010, an Economic Impact Assessment of Waterford Airport was published, which highlighted the importance of the airport to the South East Region.[9] Noel Dempsey, the Transport Minister, announced on 9 March 2010 that owing to difficulties with public finances there would be no funding for the runway extension at the airport, and that security and safety were priorities "in the current financial climate".[10]

In November 2012, Aer Arann announced it would terminate all its routes from Waterford. The airline operating under Aer Lingus Regional suspended its service to London Southend, London Luton and Manchester on the 6th of January.[11]

Aer Arann ATR 72 at Waterford

On 12 August 2013, it was reported that a 150m extension of the runway would be funded by the Department of Transport up to a limit of €400,000. The airport itself would have to raise the remaining €850,000 for it to take place.

VLM Airlines announced it would terminate its flights to London Luton at short notice by 13 June 2016, leaving Waterford Airport without any scheduled traffic.[5]

In June 2017, after a year without commercial flights a new airline Aer Southeast announced three new year round services to London Luton and Manchester and Birmingham.[12] Although 18 months after the announcement the airline shut down due to a licensing issue.[13]

A €12 million plan was announced in June 2019 to extend the airports runway by 850 meters and revamp the airport. Minister for Transport Shane Ross would give the airport €5 million only to be given once the extended runway is confirmed and ready for service. Local corporations such as Glanbia, Coolmore Stud and Dawn Meats pledged a total of €5 million with €2 million from local authorities. The extended runway would allow medium-sized commercial passenger jet aircraft such as Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s to use the airport allowing for commercial use. The airport hopes to attract Ryanair back but for now the company has said it's “no plans for the near future” regarding Waterford.[14][15] Spring 2021 is set for the commencement of commercial flight.

Facilities[edit]

Waterford Airport has four check-in desks, an information desk, two boarding gates and two baggage carousels. The airport has two hundred car-parking spaces. Free WiFi is available within the airport terminal. There are two snack bars in the airport: one before security and one in the departures hall. There are also car rental services, a taxi service rank, First Aid, Baby/Parent Room, and Disabled Access/Facilities.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

As of January 2021, Waterford Airport had no scheduled commercial passenger flights.

Statistics[edit]

Passenger numbers
Year Passengers [P] % Change [P] Movements [M] % Change [M] Carriers
2003
24,000
Increase12%
-
-
2004
55,000
Increase22%
-
-
Aer Arann
2005
71,000
Increase13%
-
-
Aer Arann
2006
85,000
Increase12%
23,724
-
Aer Arann
2007
116,000
Increase13%
30,156
Increase21%
Aer Arann
2008
144,000
Increase12%
29,811
Decrease1%
Aer Arann
2009
112,000[16]
Decrease11%
19,848
-
Aer Arann
2010
104,000
Decrease7%
17680
-
Aer Arann
2011
69,942
Decrease32%
18,227
-
Aer Arann
2012
78,393
Increase12%
15,053
-
2013
28,168[17]
Decrease63.8%
11,701
-
Flybe
2014
33,189
Increase17.8%
9301
-
Flybe
2015
34,213
Increase3.1%
11,690
-
2016
13,511
Decrease60.6%
12,508
-
VLM Airlines
2018
11,956
2019
10,761

Ground transportation[edit]

Car[edit]

The airport is on the R708 road, which can be accessed from the R710 outer ring road in Waterford. Waterford has a by-pass, and thus the airport can be very easily reached from Dungarvan, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford. After reaching the outer ring road, four major primary routes can be accessed from Waterford: towards New Ross, Dublin, Limerick and Cork.

Other transportation connections[edit]

The nearest bus and coach station is 10 km away in Waterford, from where Bus Éireann provides services to Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Rosslare Europort, Wexford, Clonmel and Tramore. JJ Kavanagh and Sons offers connections to Dublin Airport, Carlow and Tramore as well. Dublin Coach provides a direct service to Dublin via Kilkenny, and to Cork via Dungarvan. There is also a railway station in Waterford; this offers services to Limerick via Clonmel and Tipperary, and to Dublin Heuston via Kilkenny and Carlow.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Memorial to the four Irish Air Corps members who died on Rescue 111.
  • On 8 July 1999, a Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin of the Irish Air Corps crashed into the sand dunes near Tramore at 00:40 am UTC +1 after returning from a sea-air rescue mission. The helicopter, Rescue 111, was destroyed by fire and all four crew were killed. The Air Accident Investigation Unit report blamed the lack of an air traffic controller in Waterford at the time; inadequate weather reports; faulty approach lighting to the airport runway; the fact that the Air Corps crew undertook the rescue mission even though they had never flown in similar conditions (and had already completed 15 hours flying that day); and an unnecessary delay at the rescue scene, caused by the use of an inadequate lifeboat although a fully equipped one was available.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fly Waterford Home". www.flywaterford.com. Waterford Airport. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b EIWF – WATERFORD (PDF). AIP and charts from the Irish Aviation Authority.
  3. ^ "Aviation Statistics 2016". Central Statistics Office. 18 April 2017. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Cork International Airport (ORK/EICK) - Airport Technology". www.airport-technology.com.
  5. ^ a b ch-aviation.com – Belgium's VLM closes Waterford base Archived 8 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine 7 June 2016
  6. ^ https://visitnewross.ie/local/27441/waterford-airport-set-for-major-commercial-flights-boost/
  7. ^ "Waterford Airport welcomes capital investment of €27.5 million". Archived from the original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  8. ^ [1] Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Waterford Today". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  10. ^ "No funds for airport runway extension | Munster Express Online". Munster-express.ie. 12 March 2010. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  11. ^ Wade, Jennifer. "Aer Arann announces termination of Waterford Airport service". TheJournal.ie.
  12. ^ Staff, Fora. "After a year without commercial flights, Waterford Airport is to get three new UK services". TheJournal.ie.
  13. ^ Staff, Fora. "The company behind Waterford's long-awaited UK flights has shut". TheJournal.ie.
  14. ^ Correspondent, Harry McGee Political; Clarke, Vivienne. "No choice but to keep Waterford Airport open, says Varadkar". The Irish Times.
  15. ^ "Waterford Airport sets sights on €12m lifeline". Irish Examiner. 11 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Waterford Today". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Damning report on fatal Tramore helicopter crash". The Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Waterford Airport at Wikimedia Commons