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Concerns raised over new £6.6 million security scanners for Cardiff Airport

28 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Security scanner. Photo by Pramodkumartk is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Chair of the Senedd’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee has raised concerns over the Welsh Government’s investment of £6.6 million in new security scanners at Cardiff Airport.

The upgraded scanners are required under the UK Government’s aviation security regulations which stipulate that by June 2024, all UK airports that were handling over 1 million passengers annually in 2019, will be required to replac 2-D cabin baggage screening machines with Next Generation Security (NGS) 3-D scanners.

As well as dealing with security risks, the new scanners will enable passengers to leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on baggage, reducing the time taken to pass through security screening.

The government says without these scanners, Cardiff Airport would have to terminate commercial passenger operations by the regulatory deadline of June 2024.

Committee chair Mark Isherwood MS said: “The decision to invest a further £6.6 million of public money in Cardiff Airport adds to the Committee’s growing concerns about value-for-money, whilst acknowledging the necessity of installing the new security scanners.

“The Committee will consider this latest announcement carefully, as part of our ongoing scrutiny. Holding Welsh Government to account, and keeping a close eye on developments, the Committee will want to learn more about the Welsh Government’s future spending plans for the Airport, and the consequent benefits to Wales and the passengers travelling through the airport.”

Capital investment

In a written statement, Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change said the installation of the  scanners, “is part of the airport’s planned capital investment programme, agreed with the Welsh Government as part of its pandemic rescue and restructuring plan”.

Addressing the cost of the new scanners, he added: “…as experienced by many other airports across the UK, the cost of installing the scanners at Cardiff Airport has escalated significantly from initial estimates. This is partly due to inflation but also due to the complexity of installing the equipment in a 1970’s era building; a process which has required the safe removal of asbestos in a live operational environment.

“Cardiff Airport is still recovering from the devastating impact on its business from the pandemic. The airport has recovered by 58% so far with 28 of the 52 non-stop routes historically serviced, back up and running, and facilitating 910k passengers last year. There remain inflationary and other pressures on the airport’s cost base.

“Whilst aviation security is a reserved matter for the UK Government, it has consistently refused to provide any financial support for the respective UK airports to make the transition to NGS to meet the new legislated deadlines, despite the ongoing inflationary pressures on the industry.”


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Erisian
Erisian
6 months ago

They do seem inordinately expensive. I wonder who makes them?

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

I would hazard a guess that the Welsh Gov was presented with a fait accompli by the UK gov, seeing as they set the standard, and the Chinese manufacturer was the only option? Seems a lot of concern over the manufacturer. Looks like it harks back to Johnson in 2019.

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

What did Boris have to do with this money pit of an airport ?

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
6 months ago

Can anyone tell me how much has the WG spent on this airport since it was purchased by them? I did hear that Ryan Air will move to Bristol.

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
6 months ago

So divided down to per passenger up to this time, what £££ have the Cynilliad plowed into Cardiff airfield? Internally it only flies to Ynys Môn, a service that conveniently serves only the northern half of the island and Gov minions who fancy a jolly. So hardly useful to anyone in Cymru other than those around Abertawe, Aberrhoddu and Caerdydd. Great value bois.

David Jones
David Jones
6 months ago
Reply to  Argol fawr!

Argol fawr!. Sorry to disappoint you. You evidently had not heard that the Welsh Labour Government axed the air service from Cardiff to Ynys Mon once and for all in 2022. despite the fact that this was the only useful public service the Welsh Labour Government ever initiated in 25 years in power. The Welsh Labour Government also stripped out what had been Anglesey Airport and – guess what? – in January this year they sold off its luggage scanning equipment at Anglesey Airport for a knock-down price!

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

never keen on Bay regime getting involved with funding the airport. However they have it and it is essential that it complies with current regulations to enable it to continue operations. To dispose of it the airport will need to be in “working order” able to deal with the type of business that an airport would discharge. Case of “no other option” unless one wanted to shut it as a piece of ground ready for the redevelopers, and there are probably plenty of those vultures hovering just over the horizon.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago

Perhaps if Wales had the power to set Air Passenger Duty like both Scotland and Northern Ireland can then maybe more airlines will come to Cardiff. Instead Alun Cairns the Secretary of State rejected it, because of objections from Bristol. What’s the point of a Welsh Secretary who puts the concerns of England over the concerns of his own country.

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