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Conservatives slam ‘incredibly disappointing’ news as airline reduces Cardiff Airport flights

11 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Cardiff Airport. Photo by Jonathan Winton and is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. Right, Natasha Asghar MS.

The Welsh Conservatives have slammed as “incredibly disappointing” the news that Wizz Air is to reduce its flights to Cardiff Airport.

The budget airline has said that it will stop flying to nine destinations from Cardiff Airport this winter – Alicante, Corfu, Heraklion, Faro, Larnaca, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh and Tenerife.

Wizz Air said that the routes were no longer “commercially viable” to fly over winter despite being popular over the summer.

The airline also offers flights to Milan and Bucharest from Cardiff.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS said it was “incredibly disappointing news for Cardiff Airport which has already seen falling passenger numbers and continues to make a loss”.

“Wales needs an airport that will attract airlines in order to boost the economy and show Wales off to the world,” she said.

“Labour ministers need to monitor the situation and provide urgent clarity as to when the services will resume and what alternative routes are being planned from other airlines.”

‘Takes time’

Wizz Air bosses said the decision was made to minimise disruption to passengers, who will be informed by email if they are affected.

Ticket-holders will be offered options to either rebook to take their trip this year as planned but from London Gatwick or Luton Airport, or book comparable flights to go next summer from Cardiff.

People will also be offered either a full cash refund or 120% of their ticket cost in airline credit.

Managing director of Wizz Air UK Marion Geoffrey said: “We are very disappointed to have to suspend several routes from Cardiff Airport for the winter season.

“Though these routes have proved popular through the summer season, it would not be commercially viable to continue to operate them through this coming winter due to the challenging macro-economic environment.

“This leaves us with no option but to pause these routes until next spring.

“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience this will cause customers who already booked flights with us. We are in touch with all affected customers to explain their options.

“It takes time to build up sustainable operations at any base and we are prepared to build up operations at Cardiff over the long term.”

The company set up a new base at Cardiff Airport in December 2020, creating 40 new jobs, with the aim of increasing the airport’s yearly seat capacity by 350,000.

However, it reported growing losses of £381 million in the first quarter of this year, which it said was down to the effect of fuel costs and recent airport disruption.

It said rising demand and ticket prices should ensure a “material operating profit” in the second quarter.

‘Peak’

The Welsh Conservatives have long criticised the Welsh Government’s decision to buy Cardiff Airport, which has decreased in value since the purchase was made.

Cardiff Airport has been owned by the Welsh Government since March 2013.

Welsh Government minister Julie James said: “Whilst this is unfortunate timing, the airport board remains positive about its recovery from the pandemic as there continues to be significant demand for travel this year.

“My officials will continue to maintain a close and open dialogue with the airport board and despite this announcement I remain positive for the airport’s recovery and eventual growth.”

In June the Welsh Government said that the decrease in passengers between 2020 and 2021 was due to the continuing Covid pandemic.

“Air transport in Wales was significantly affected in 2020 by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic due to the impact of both domestically imposed travel restrictions and worldwide restrictions,” they said.

“This impact was still seen in 2021 with some travel restrictions still in place, contributing to a further decrease in air passenger numbers.

“The number of passengers using Cardiff Airport fell sharply at the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. In 2021 passenger numbers decreased by 44% compared with 2020 to 123,000 (Chart 1). This includes both arrivals and departures.”

The Welsh Government also noted that passenger numbers had been rising before the Covid pandemic hit.

“After falling from the peak in 2007, passenger numbers increased between 2014 and 2019,” they said.

“There was then a large decrease in passenger numbers of 87% in 2020 when compared to the previous year, following the start of the coronavirus  pandemic.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

Aye, I bet they do….anyone who profits from the destruction of the Earth is probably not pleased with this. Well, they can all go and die in a ditch for all I care.

The climate catastrophe is now. We are living in the age of tragedy. We MUST change course, mitigate the oncoming horrors and correct our ways NOW.

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
1 month ago

Why are they concerned if they had their way they would shut the Airport down then the Senydd and Wales to just be a County of england

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

The first thing she needs to do is have a word with Alun Cairns MP. He has long promoted Bristol airport over Cardiff, and has opposed APD, being devolved, and also backed higher landing fees for Cardiff compared to Bristol whilst secratary of state. With people like him in her party, no wonder the place has struggled, even ART Davies when asked about this, said he, Cairns, must have his reasons.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

I agree totally. The Tories are playing politics with the future of Cardiff Airport. Keep the airport failing so that they can blame it on Labour/devolution.

Lolly Mountjoy
Lolly Mountjoy
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Just what I was going to post
Canadian teachers Pensions before Wales as it is they that own Bristol airport

Tarquin ap Piers
Tarquin ap Piers
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Seems he was right all along. A man of vision.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

Pity his vision did not extend to rape trials.

Rhodri wen
Rhodri wen
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Below the belt that comment. Considering the result.

Dai Roberts
Dai Roberts
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

He understood airports though.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

She could also benefit from reading the Cardiff Airport Masterplan.
It’s available for all on the airport website. It’s been available there for a few years now.

Has she flown from the airport recently, or ever?

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
1 month ago

Remember, Cardiff/ Wales airport was previously Those airport was built by South,West and Mid Glamorgan county Councils. And was run successfully. The Tory government forced the authorities to sell to the private who then mad a complete mess of it turning a profitable air port to a massive loss making concern Which was likely to fail and close, much to the delight of Bristol and other airports. The Welsh Government bought it back for less than it was sold. The trading situation for airports a bleak across the UK, but this is our own owned by by the people of… Read more »

Morgan
Morgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoffrey ap.

I totally agree with what Geoffrey has said…so .why does the Welsh opposition support the Bristol-based airport?

CommonSense
CommonSense
1 month ago

Key piece of national infrastructure

Mr Ian M Williams
Mr Ian M Williams
1 month ago

Its failing because the cost of flights are far higher from Cardiff than Bristol, and have less flights because they cannot attract airlines like Easyjet!
And the investment has taken it to a good place to fly from.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

See my post above for the reasons. It is not a level playing field.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

Remember the low cost British Airways airline called “Go”?

Well, when Cardiff was privately owned, BA approached the management and asked if they could site Go at Cardiff. The wonderful private owners said “No”.
BA popped over to Bristol, asked if they could site Go there. Bristol said “Yes”.

In the end, Go got sold, to EasyJet. That’s why EasyJet are at Bristol.

Just think, it could’ve been Cardiff.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Crocodile tears from the hypocritical Welsh Conservatives. This is the same regressive party that criticised the Welsh Government purchase of Cardiff Airport when its Spanish owners were effectively running it down to the point of closure.

And I can recall at the time Welsh Tory hostility, who were quite happy to see Cardiff & Wales lose its one & only international airport, meaning the loss of thousands of jobs to our economy with money flowing from Wales into England. Scum. Their treachery makes me violently sick! 🤬

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Just a thought. We do still have a problem with Climate Breakdown so any reduction in flying means a reduction in emissions which is good. The Tories are keen to expand the airline industry which makes no sense at all unless they value short term profit over a bearable life for our children.

Woke Mind Virus.
Woke Mind Virus.
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Don’t worry: net zero means there won’t be a Cardiff Airport in the near future. So that should please you.

Presumably you agree with the actions of the Dutch, Canadian and Irish governments in their opening attacks on their agricultural sectors and the behaviour of the Sri Lankan government in the name of net zero.

Because that’s what’s coming to Cymru in due course.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago

Sorry, but I seem to have missed those bits of news. Why will Wales be following that course (whatever it is)? Presumably Welsh agriculture will need to change to adapt to Climate Breakdown and changes in the market for their products. Wales once had hill farms that were more mixed with cattle, sheep, cereals and other crops. Now most appear to me to be concentrting on lots of sheep. Something must have caused that change and I presume that it was the way the market for agricultural products changed. Now more people are moving away from animal products to vegetable… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Tory minister fails capitalism 101, bursts into tears.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

Private company makes capitalist decision based on market forces. How very Tory. She should be happy.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

If the leaflet stand in the arrivals hall fell over, the Conservatives would ‘slam it’ as ‘incredibly disappointing’ and demand ‘Labour ministers must pick up the leaflets immediately’.

They hate the airport being in public hands.

I wonder what the local Tories in Luton and Newcastle think of their airports, as those two are also publically owned.

I wonder if Natasha saw the “local airport” article in the Sunday Times Travel supplement last week. It praised Cardiff, Luton and Newcastle airports and specially pointed out that they were publically owned.

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