UK regional carrier Linksair inaugurated flights from Cardiff Airport on December 10, 2014 when it introduced operations on the Public Service Obligation (PSO) route to Anglesey Airport (RAF Valley). The North South Wales air service is operated twice daily using a 19-seat BAe Jetstream 31 and will almost certainly open the door for future development for the carrier in the Welsh market.
The scheduled service is supported by the Welsh Government to improve business connectivity and promote economic growth and LinksAir plans to connect the service with new commercial routes from Cardiff in spring 2015 when a new schedule on the route will also be introduced to allow for a longer working day at both destinations.
“We are considering the introduction of one or two new routes from Cardiff and are in the final stages of our evaluation. These could be seasonal or year-round flights and could vary from two or three weekly frequencies to a daily schedule, subject to our final decision.”Roger Hague
Commercial Manager, Linksair
It is initially offering 07:40 & 16:25 departures from Cardiff on Monday to Thursday, and 07:40 & 15:25 on Fridays with return flights leaving Anglesey at 08:55 and 17:40 on weekdays (16:40 on Fridays). The introduction of an earlier 07:25 Cardiff departure in spring 2015, combined with a later afternoon departure, will offer an extra 35 minutes a day at each destination.
“I am committed to improving business connectivity throughout Wales to promote economic growth. This service does that and creates more tourism opportunities by greatly reducing journey times between north-west Wales and Cardiff,” said Welsh Transport Minister, Edwina Hart.
“Our research shows that the majority of passengers are using the service for business and they use it because it saves time. This new service better meets the needs of business customers and I hope the new flexible ticket options will encourage more leisure and tourism passengers to use the service,” she added
The North South Wales air service was established in 2007 and Linksair have been the aircraft operator on the route for the past two years on behalf of Citywing. It is now fully responsible for the route after being awarded a four-year contract to fly the route from the Welsh Government and will introduce a new ticketing system with fares available from £19 one-way, with baggage charges of just £5 and the option to change flights.
The route is supported by funding of around £1 million per annum to offset some of the operating costs and was awarded following a competitive EU-wide tender process earlier this year. It is thought to be worth around £6 million to the airline over the course of its four-year term.
“We at Linksair are delighted to operate this important route and are very excited about the new opportunities. With a combination of low fares, flexibility in booking, quality service and new routes in the new year we aim to improve the Cardiff to Anglesey service,” said Roger Hage, commercial manager, Linksair.
Speaking to Routesonline this week, Hage confirmed that Linksair, which recently announced a move to Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield to allow BAE Systems to establish a £5 million training centre at Humberside Airport, will also add new Cardiff connections to the Anglesey service.
“We are considering the introduction of one or two new routes from Cardiff and are in the final stages of our evaluation. These could be seasonal or year-round flights and could vary from two or three weekly frequencies to a daily schedule, subject to our final decision,” said Hage.
We are also considering adding a second aircraft to the Cardiff base from autumn 2015 and developing an engineering operation at the airport or nearby St Athan,” he added.