Cork Airport reopens on Monday after being closed for the past 10 weeks to reconstruct the main runway there.

It is part of a €40 million investment programme currently under way at the airport.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin presided at the ceremony to mark the completion of the runway reconstruction project this afternoon.

The runway was re-built in two-and-a-half months, while funding for the project was only allocated 12 months ago.

Cork Airport says it is the fastest large-scale construction project undertaken in the State in recent years and it is the single biggest government investment in the airport.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Martin said the runway reconstruction project would future proof the airport for Cork and for the south-west of the country.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking at Cork Airport

"The investment by the Government of €10 million in this project will ensure continued, essential connectivity - connecting people and places, families and friends, economies and businesses, with enormous benefits for the city, the wider region and for the country," he said.

Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton said more Government funding is on the way to support Cork Airport.

"I hope to announce funding for Cork Airport as part of the Regional Airport Programme in the coming weeks," she said.

"Before the arrival of Covid-19 to our shores, Cork Airport was on a strong growth trajectory with over 2.6 million passengers recorded in 2019. The whole team here have been unwavering in their focus on recovery and building a successful future for Cork Airport. This is clearly seen in the return of airlines and services to the airport along with new services such as the new weekly service to Geneva this winter operated by Swiss International Air Lines. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will double its daily service between Cork and Amsterdam Schiphol from next week. I also welcome Ryanair's announcement of a €200m investment in Cork Airport and a full recovery of its pre-pandemic passenger capacity with the reopening of its two aircraft base."

Ministers Simon Coveney and Michael McGrath also attended the ceremony.

The airport runway reconstruction took 10 weeks to complete

Cork Airport Managing Director Niall MacCarthy said defended the decision to close the airport for 10 weeks.

"The massive runway reconstruction project was completed on schedule and within budget in a 10-week construction period," he said.

"The airport made a brave decision to close completely to undertake the reconstruction works and be delivered in a quicker time, in a safer environment and with less long-term impacts on airlines and passengers than an alternative of night time closures next year over a 10-month period next year."

Over 430 people were employed during the 10-week reconstruction phase.

Mr MacCarthy described the project as a major milestone on the road to post-Covid recovery: "Rebuilding major infrastructure is always disruptive but we have confined the disruption to a short, 10-week, off-peak period and now we can reap the benefits of recovery."

He also expressed confidence in the future of Cork Airport: "With your support as stakeholders, we will grow this airport back to be an engine of growth for the south of Ireland economy once again."

Colas, with their Irish head office located in Maynooth, was awarded the main runway contract following an extensive EU tender process.

The project to reconstruct the main runway was supported by Government funding of €10 million from the Department of Transport, announced in November 2020 with the balance of the funding coming from Cork Airport's parent company, daa plc, to complete the project.

Services will resume at Cork Airport from Monday

In total, Dublin Airport Authority is investing over €40 million at Cork Airport over a three-year period between 2020 and 2022, to upgrade and enhance critical infrastructure. As part of this capital programme, Cork Airport is also investing in the construction of a new electrical sub-station for the airport early next year.

The electrical upgrade will reduce the runway electrical carbon footprint by 70%. Cork Airport has also recently completed an upgrade of its baggage security screening system to insure that checked in baggage complies with the latest international standards at a cost of over €12 million.

Cork Airport was the country's second busiest and best-connected international airport pre Covid-19, with connectivity to over 50 routes by nine scheduled airlines, flying to destinations across the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and the Canary Islands.

Following the completion of the runway reconstruction project, Cork Airport will reopen for business on Monday with eight airlines: Ryanair, Aer Lingus, KLM, Air France, SWISS, Lufthansa, TUI and new airline Vueling. They will be flying to 34 destinations across the UK and the rest of Europe.