You couldn’t help but notice the great Red Dragon on display on the Visit Wales stand at World Routes as Cardiff Airport and the Welsh Government increased their presence at the annual forum with a hosted networking stand in Las Vegas. And, it appears the investment is already proving successful with the airport’s management confirming that a deal with Flybe to extend its winter schedule from the Welsh capital was finalised at the forum.
Together, Cardiff Airport and Visit Wales, the Welsh Government’s tourism team, joined forces to promote Wales and held meetings with over 30 airlines, developing prospects as part of the ongoing strategy to expand the airport's route network.
"This year’s Routes Conference was a great success for us. Working closely with Visit Wales we were able to really make an impression with the airlines we are targeting and get the message out there that Cardiff Airport is back and above all open for business,” explained Jon Horne, chief executive officer, Cardiff Airport.
"Attending World Routes is an important part of our programme of getting the attention of airlines once again and this was achieved. It was all the more pleasing having secured the Flybe business at the event itself as well and announcing this on the day we returned to Wales. We are confident there is more success to come,” he added.
The new Flybe business heralds the return of ski destinations to Cardiff Airport after an absence of three years, ensuring that those in South Wales in search of the 'slopes' can do so from their local airport once again. From December 21, 2013, the airline will offer twice weekly flights to Chambery and weekly flights to Geneva, Grenoble and Lyon. The Lyon flights will be operated with an 88-seat Embraer 175, while the other destinations will be served by 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.
“Our four new direct ski routes from Cardiff offer a choice of affordable and particularly attractive ski destinations direct from Wales, saving people valuable time, money and especially the hassle of having to trek to England before they even start their journey,” said Simon Lilley, Flybe’s director of marketing, Flybe.
In the six and a half years since Flybe began operations out of Cardiff, it has continued to grow its route network from the airport and now offers a total choice of 90-plus flights a week on nine routes. As well as the four new ski routes announced today Flybe also operates services to Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Jersey.
Cardiff Airport officials are confident that Flybe could play a key role in the development of the facility and introduce additional new routes in the future. “We have been working closely with Flybe as part of our strategy to bring back a greater choice of flights and destinations to Cardiff Airport and we look forward to exploring further opportunities in this regard,” Horne told The HUB at World Routes. Flybe officials confirmed the carrier would “continue to explore all possibilities for expanding our services at Cardiff.”