New Routes Key to Cardiff Airport’s Future under Welsh Government Ownership

The Welsh Government completed its purchase of Cardiff Airport for a total investment of £52 million in late March following a period of due diligence and negotiation with TBI, the airport’s previous owner.   It is now working to fast-track a route development strategy to bring back some of the air services it has lost in recent years and even attract a new scheduled link to the US. 

Announcing the purchase, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones said: “Cardiff Airport is a vital gateway to Wales for business, tourists and general travellers alike.  It is essential that its future is secured and that we develop high quality sustainable services. The Airport will not be operated by the Welsh Government.  It will be managed at arm’s length from government on a commercial basis and, over time, I expect to see a return to the public purse on the investment.”

“Cardiff Airport is a vital gateway to Wales for business, tourists and general travellers alike.  It is essential that its future is secured and that we develop high quality sustainable services.”

Carwyn Jones
First Minister, Wales

A new chief executive officer is expected to be announced in the coming months but the facility will initially be controlled by Lord Rowe-Beddoe, the former chairman of the Welsh Development Agency, who will serve as Chairman of the Airport Board.  Passenger numbers at the airport, the largest airport in Wales, have fallen over the past five years from a high of 2.1 million in 2007, reducing to just over one million last year following a fifth successive year of decline.

“The airport is a major piece of economic infra-structure for Wales. I look forward to working in partnership with the workforce at the airport as we develop a high quality service for passengers and create a facility of which Wales can be proud,” added Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport following the completion of the takeover deal.

Operations at the airport are currently dominated by charter operators Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways with the airport’s relatively close proximity to Bristol meaning it has found it difficult to attract airlines to what is a reduced catchment market, although in recent years it has successfully attracted Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling.  Latest schedule data for the current year shows Thomson Airways has a 29.9 per cent share of the total available seats from Cardiff, followed by Flybe (24.9 per cent) Thomas Cook Airlines (14.5 per cent), KLM (11.8 per cent) and Vueling (9.6 per cent).  On a positive note forecasted capacity for 2013 is up 12.8 per cent on the actual figure from 2012.

In the table below we highlight the top ten O&D markets from Cardiff in 2012 and how traffic levels have changed since 2007 when bmibaby were a based operator and the airport was recording its peak demand.  With eight of these markets showing notable declines it highlights the potential for growth under the new state ownership.

LARGEST O&D MARKETS FROM CARDIFF AIRPORT (bi-directional O&D traffic)

Rank

Network Point

Capacity (2012)

Capacity (2007)

% Change

1

Edinburgh (EDI)

76,903

166,919

(-53.9) %

2

Dublin (DUB)

52,230

66,816

(-21.8) %

3

Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)

43,658

121,047

(-63.9) %

4

Glasgow International (GLA)

33,031

98,222

(-66.4) %

5

Belfast City George Best (BHD)

29,380

29,742

(-1.2) %

6

Newcastle International (NCL)

24,661

21,347

15.5 %

7

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)

20,515

26,679

(-23.1) %

8

Barcelona El Prat (BCN)

18,838

35,410

(-46.8) %

9

Alicante El Altet (ALC)

15,125

120,148

(-87.4) %

10

Anglesey RAF Valley (VLY)

12,799

11,098

15.3 %

OVERALL NETWORK TOTAL

458,606

1,448,737

(-68.3) %


 Routes Europe 2018

Routes Europe 2020
Bergen, Norway • 27 - 29 April 2020

With 45 meeting slots and unlimited networking opportunities, the event is your opportunity to engage in business-focused discussions with Europe's key decision makers.

Register now

Share this article

Download Tourism success through route development

How the Canary Islands tourist board have overseen the development of 252 new air routes into the islands since 2017.

Download Case Study

Comments