Irish regional airline, CityJet will end its flights from Cardiff to Edinburgh and Paris from June 29, after the airline criticised Cardiff Airport’s decision to support flybe in setting up competitor routes to the two European cities.
The airline has said that it understands the desire of the airport to build its network, but cannot accept Cardiff Airport enticing another airline to provide services on a bundle of routes, which include two routes already operated by CityJet from Cardiff.
Chief commercial officer of CityJet, Cathal O'Connell, said: "Both business and leisure interests in Wales welcomed us to Cardiff in January 2014 when these routes were abandoned by the previous operator.”
Since 2014, CityJet have carried over 100,000 customers on these services, and have upgraded the aircraft from a 50-seater to a 70-seater, as well as establishing a crew base at Cardiff by Stobart Air, who operate the services on the behalf of CityJet.
However, Cardiff Airport has said that they are “naturally” disappointed that CityJet have decided to stop flying services from Cardiff to Edinburgh and Paris.
Managing Director at Cardiff Airport, Debra Barber has said the airport would like to reassure passengers immediately that these destinations will continue to be served from Cardiff.
“We know these routes serve both Welsh passengers travelling on business and leisure plus an important inbound market into Wales. As such, we are confident the services will be well used and continue to link Wales with Scotland and France respectively,” she said.
Earlier this year, flybe announced it would open a base at Cardiff Airport, serving 11 destinations this summer. The move has resulted in flybe offering “almost identical” flight timings to Edinburgh and Paris to those provided by CityJet.
"Competition is not a problem, but competition should be based on a level playing surface and not one where an airport clearly favours one airline over others,” added CityJet’s Cathal O'Connell.
Late last year, the airline also axed its service between Cardiff Airport and Glasgow, nine months after the route was re-instated. The thrice daily flights were cut in October, as "part of the process an airline goes through" while Cardiff Airport said it remained a "key component" of CityJet's strategy.