Proposals for new flight routes from Swansea Airport a ‘hammer blow’ for net zero plans
Plans for new flight routes from Swansea Airport have been described as a “hammer blow” for the council’s net zero plans.
Swansea Airport Ltd, which is currently in talks to extend it’s lease to operate the council-owned airport, announced plans last week for a passenger service to Exeter to commence from the end of March.
The company has been under fire over it’s management of the facility in the past and in 2019 the Civil Aviation Authority suspended the airport’s licence but has since reinstated it.
Wales Green Party councillor Chris Evans has called the proposals “20th Century thinking” and is calling for other business models for the airport to be explored.
“Swansea Council have been doing so well in trying to achieve net zero targets by 2030 for the Council and 2050 for the county as a whole, but this announcement is a hammer blow for the 2050 plans and will make our job so much harder,” he said.
“What we need is cheap, reliable, high quality, high speed, integrated, electrified rail services that allow people to travel to all parts of the UK simply, cheaply and quickly without compromising our children’s’ futures.
“Scheduling new internal flights while we are in a climate emergency is more 20th century thinking whilst we are faced with 21st century problems.”
“Swansea airport needs massive investment to make it viable for commercial flights, but there are other business models available,” he added.
“By upgrading facilities on site for pleasure flyers, parachutists and flying schools, other small businesses from outside the aviation sector could be attracted to use the airport as a base too, such as tourism and hospitality.
“Parking at the airport and then exploring the wonders of Gower by renting a bike or E-bike would be an obvious example of this. This model would also offer a much less carbon intensive way to develop the site and provide plenty of sustainable jobs for the future.”
The council confirmed that senior officials were set to discuss a potential new lease with the operator of the airport last week.
Two other groups had been vying for the opportunity secure the lease for the airport, however the council has confirmed that Swansea Airport Ltd, had legal rights to a renewal of the lease, and says it has to be mindful of the landlord-tenant relationship.
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