History of Kerry Airport

If you would like to read more about Kerry Airport, see our book Kerry in the Jet Age (Kerry Airport 1969 – 2009) written by Donal Hickey. Beautifully illustrated with archive images. It is available from the Kerry Airport Departures Lounge Shop.

Kerry Airport was incorporated as a public limited company in July 1968 with its main objective of building and managing an airport at Farranfore. Various share capital fund raising programmes were undertaken and together with great assistance from the various statutory bodies over the years, the airport has developed from a runway of 1,090 metres x 23 metres commissioned in 1969 to a runway of 1,239m x 30m commissioned in 1989 and a new runway of 2,000m x 45m was opened in May 1994.

On the 25th August 1969 the first aircraft to land at Kerry Airport was piloted by Captain Milo Carr of the Department of Transport & Power. For a number of years the only aircraft using the aerodrome were light private aircraft and the occasional charter or cargo flight and also extensive parachuting took place. The first scheduled service was inaugurated in July 1979 using an islander aircraft operated by Aer Arann.
Encouraged by the apparent success of other regional airports in Ireland, the Board of Directors drew up a development plan to lengthen and widen the runway to 1,200m x 30m and to extend and upgrade the Terminal Buildings and to install an Instrument Landing System and appropriate lighting.

The runway was completed on schedule and the first scheduled flight into Kerry was on the 22nd May 1989 from Dublin by Aer Lingus followed the next day by Ryanair from London-Luton. On the 21st May 1993, the contract for the new runway of 2,000m x 45m and New Terminal was signed and the official “Sod Turning” was performed by An Tanaiste, Mr. Dick Spring TD.

The Runway 08/26 was licensed by the IAA on the 20th May 1994 and the first flight landed at 13:23 local time on the 20th May. It was a PA28 aircraft registration G-BLSD FROM Manchester and was piloted by C.Gurley. This was followed by the first commercial flight by Aer Lingus, a Saab 340. Its registration was EI-CFD and it was commanded by Captain Peter Heinz.

Today Kerry Airport currently offers scheduled direct flights to Dublin, London-Stansted, London-Luton, Berlin, and Frankfurt-Hahn with seasonal flights to Alicante & Faro. As well as the scheduled services it also handles several Ad-Hoc charter flights to Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje. The airport is constantly sourcing new routes that will be sustainable and of social and economical benefit to those living, working and holidaying in the region of Kerry.