Five years after opening Cork Airport is going from strength to strength.

Businessmen commuting, holidaymakers flying in from the sun, emigrants returning home, all contribute to the success story of Cork Airport in the age of the jet.

Cork Airport is currently being extended reflecting the growing demand for its services. Targets for the airport have been exceeded every year since it began operating. Cork Airport manager Vincent Fanning explains how the airport will be expanded substantially in the future. He outlines how all estimates of traffic in and out of the airport have been exceeded with an approximate growth rate of 20 per cent per annum which is higher than the rate of growth at most other European airports.

We expect that the rapid rate of growth will continue

The network out of Cork widens annually with destinations now including England, Paris, Lourdes, and Barcelona. The airport provides access to southern regions of Ireland for foreign tourists.

Gerry Fitzgerald outlines the Aer Lingus policy to promote Cork Airport as a gateway to south and south west Ireland. Overseas offices and a strategic marketing plan have helped to promote both Cork Airport and the region overseas.

Evidence of the success of the airport can be seen in Cork city where six new hotels have been built to accommodate travellers with two more in the planning. In addition, around one hundred guest houses have opened in the area.

Terry Stewart Ivernia Regional Tourism Manager attributes the growth in tourism in the region largely to the success of Cork Airport. Cork has a higher concentration of hotels and guesthouses than any other region in the country.

The existence of Cork Airport has encouraged more and more people to come to the south west.

While Cork is a seasonal airport catering largely to tourism, it has also become a major factor in the development of industry in the south. Tadhg Lynch of Aer Lingus has witnessed first hand the impact that the airport has had on industrial life of the region. He says there has been a 60 per cent increase in exports from Cork Airport since 1961. One industry that has benefited hugely from access to European markets is the shellfish industry.

The success of the airport has not come at the expense of the ferry services which operate in and out of Cork. B&I chairman Liam St John Devlin says that while the passenger ferry service suffered an initial loss if traffic as a result of the opening of the airport, these losses have since been regained and the service continues to grow.

Dr Lucey, Bishop of Cork, has long been a supporter of Cork Airport and he describes the importance of the airport as a gateway to tourism in Cork and Kerry. He also comments on the service that the airport offers Irish emigrants overseas, as well as the industrial development opportunities it offers to the region.

'Newsbeat’ broadcast on 13 April 1966. The reporter is Bill O’Herlihy.