Irish regional carrier CityJet is to launch flights from Cardiff to Glasgow and Paris from January 20, 2014 maintaining important connectivity from the Welsh capital. Both destinations are currently served from Cardiff by Flybe, but the UK low-fare carrier revealed earlier this month that it would be suspending the two routes from January 19, 2014 as part of its network restructuring.
CityJet’s initial schedule will deliver a twice daily weekday service to Glasgow with daily weekend flights. Paris will be served by a daily flight Monday to Friday and on Sundays. From the start of the summer schedule on March 30, 2014, CityJet will add flights to Edinburgh and Jersey. Edinburgh will be served three times a day Monday to Friday with one flight on Saturdays and two on Sundays. Jersey will be served with five weekly return flights. The summer schedule will also see a third daily flight added to the Glasgow route on Thursdays and Fridays whilst Paris Orly will then be served every day of the week. By the middle of summer, CityJet will be operating more than 80 flights a week in and out of Cardiff Airport.
“We're very excited to be launching a dynamic new network from Cardiff, and are thrilled to introduce the CityJet service to Wales. We are confident that our network and schedule to these four new destinations will be a success – both for the Welsh community and for CityJet,” said Christine Ourmières, chief executive officer, CityJet
“We’re really pleased to be working with the team at Cardiff Airport as we share a common commitment to provide convenient, hassle-free travel to popular destinations throughout the UK and Europe. Like them, we’re expanding our network and are focused on offering choice for both business and leisure travellers, and providing the service the community wants and needs,” she added.
Figures released by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) show Cardiff Airport passenger numbers grew by 8.6% during May to November 2013 compared with the same period last year. And additional flights mean Cardiff Airport will welcome more than 20,000 passengers during the two-week Christmas and New Year period - an 18 per cent increase on last year.
The peak travelling period was the four-day run-up to Christmas Day, when initial estimates show over 9,000 travellers passed through the airport - a 24 per cent increase on the same period in 2012. This was mainly due to the new flight programmes with Vueling and Flybe, the latter launching weekly ski flights to Lyon, Chambery, Grenoble and Geneva from December 21, 2013.
“The increase in passengers is down to the introduction of the new winter flights with Vueling and Flybe, which is great news for the airport’s development as well as for local people wanting more choice and the convenience of flying from Cardiff,” said Spencer Birns, director of aviation and business development at Cardiff Airport. “We remain focussed on and look forward to continuing our drive to increase routes and passenger numbers in 2014.”
Alongside the arrival of CityJet and the Flybe winter programme, Cardiff Airport will also welcome new services to Germany and a long-haul link to the Caribbean in 2014. A Germanwings weekly flight to Dusseldorf from April 5, 2014, is an important strand of the strategy to bring more tourists to Wales, and the airport team has worked closely with Visit Wales, the Welsh Government tourism body, to secure it.
Meanwhile, luxury Caribbean tour operator, Sandals, is introducing its first Barbados flight from Wales. The two-week charter to the new Sandals Barbados resort departs on March 9, 2013 and will add to P&O Cruises existing charter flights to Barbados in January and February 2014. According to a company spokesman these sold out in just a matter of weeks after being launched earlier this year.
“The ongoing success we have in attracting new services means the hard work of the team here is paying off. It is also encouraging that airlines and tour operators are making these commitments to Cardiff Airport and Wales and this gives us confidence that we are on track to achieve our longer term goals,” explained Jon Horne, chief executive officer, Cardiff Airport.