Cork Airport is in talks to secure a transatlantic service from 2015 after it confirmed a recovery in passenger numbers to 2.3 million for 2013.
The revelation came as Aer Lingus Regional (ALR) is to boost capacity from Cork Airport by 25% with the aim of achieving 300,000 passengers next year.
The airport also confirmed that Ryanair has recorded a 30% hike in passenger numbers this year.
ALR confirmed it is to launch a new route from Cork to Newcastle and expand existing services to Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. The expansion is part of a national drive to achieve two million passengers by 2018 following a 10% growth in passenger this year.
Two new ALR aircraft will be based in Cork to operate the routes with peak operations to the UK hitting 174 flights weekly.
The announcement came after Cork was effectively omitted by Ryanair and Aer Lingus from their major 2014 route expansion programme which targeted Dublin and Shannon.
But ALR confirmed that the decision to expand Cork operations and target 20% passenger growth in 2014 was a direct result of the Irish government's decision to abolish travel tax.
"The airline is determined to grow both our passenger numbers and route network. The addition of a new service to Newcastle and increasing of our capacity on three key routes from Cork provides real choice to the travelling public, and will serve to bring further visitors to the region," ALR/Aer Arann chief commercial officer Simon Fagan said.