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‘Significant progress’ at Welsh airport that had licence suspended

13 Apr 2021 2 minute read

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

An airport that had its licence suspended because of safety concerns has made “significant progress” to resolve “long-standing issues”, it has been claimed.

This is according to the minutes of a Swansea Council meeting, where Cabinet members were presented with a report behind closed doors about at Swansea Airport, last month.

The minutes referenced long-standing issues previously highlighted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which suspended the airport’s licence in 2019, as well as by the Health and Safety Executive.

The council owns but does not operate the airport, on Fairwood Common, Gower.

Minutes from the meeting said: “This current report sought to provide an updated position, illustrating the significant progress made to date, including the outcome of an independent audit report that the authority has recently commissioned.”

No further details were given, and the council has declined to comment on the report.

‘Safety audit’ 

The CAA said the suspension of the licence – affecting all private flights – followed an unannounced safety audit in 2019 which identified a series of safety concerns.

Aerodromes like Swansea’s need a licence if they are used by paying passengers or for commercial activities, such as flight training.

A CAA spokesmen said: “The suspensions will remain in place until our safety concerns are addressed.”

The airport has been subsidised for years by the current tenant, businessman Roy Thomas, who set up a passenger flight service from Swansea called Air Wales. The flights stopped in 2004.

Mr Thomas said work to upgrade the airport’s infrastructure was ongoing, and that he expected to be fully compliant with the CAA in around six to eight weeks’ time.

The airport originally opened as an airbase during the Second World War. It was then decommissioned, before opening as Swansea Airport in 1949.

Over the years it has been used by flight schools, private pilots and sky diving operators.

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