Cork Airport overhauls main runway into Pole position due to Earth's magnetic pull

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Cork Airport has renamed its main runway because of changes to the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Designated as Runway 17/35 in 1961, it’s now called Runway 16/34. It was renamed a result of changes to the Earth’s magnetic poles in the past 57 years, which have shifted the runway’s magnetic headings. The runway now stands at 164°M and 344°M respectively.

The redesignation took place on Thursday, April 26, before the first wave of departing flights.

Con Dooney, General Manager of Operations and Safety at Cork Airport, said: “Cork’s two-digit runway designator is crucial for pilots during take-off, landing and taxiing. Thanks to the coordinated efforts by Cork Airport and the Irish Aviation Authority, we are delighted to complete the renumbering overnight without any delay to our busy first wave of departing flights.

Marc Lake (left), AFO, and Nathan Wall, Airport Safety Lead, give the thumbs up after Cork Airport renamed its main runway. Photo: Brian Lougheed

“Work on the actual repainting of the runway numbers started as soon as the final flight landed last night to be finished in time for the first departure this morning at 6am.”

Nathan Wall, Safety Lead at Cork Airport, added: “This project was initially set in motion two years ago. The repainting of runway numbers is the final step in the process, which has also included the updating of pilot charts and airport directories, along with briefings to air traffic controllers, our Airside Management Unit and colleagues in Airport Operations on the new designation.”

Airport runway numbers change approximately every 50 years, with the next re-designation for Cork Airport due in 2068.

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