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Wizz Air pulls out of Cardiff Airport

10 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Passengers getting on a Wizz Air plane. Photo Steve Parsons PA Images

A budget airline has announced it will close its Cardiff base less than a year after it opened.

Wizz Air confirmed today it will cease all operations at Cardiff Airport permanently.

When the the Hungarian airline opened its base in Cardiff in 2020, it planned to offer a capacity of around 350,000 seats.

But in August last year the airline announced it would temporarily suspend its flights from Cardiff during the winter as it wasn’t “commercially viable”.

Wizz Air also closed its Doncaster Sheffield base last year and an aviation regulator said it had “significant concerns” about complaints from passengers.

The Welsh Government which owns Cardiff airport said in a statement: “We’re obviously disappointed that Wizz Air has decided to withdraw from Cardiff Airport.

“Our Covid recovery plan remains in place, but clearly the current economic climate is incredibly tough for the aviation sector.

“Smaller airports are vital to regional economies across the UK and we urge the UK Government to provide the support to put them on a secure footing for the future.”

Rebook

Wizz Air have offered customers either a 120% refund in airline credit, a 100% cash refund or another flight from one of its other bases.

Cardiff Airport is encouraging customers to rebook with an alternative operator.

Wizz Air managing director Marion Geoffroy said: “The challenging macro-economic environment and high operational costs including fuel mean that unfortunately we are unable to continue operating from Cardiff Airport.

“We sincerely apologise to our customers in Wales and the south-west of England for the disruption and inconvenience that this will cause.

“Our priority now is to ensure that all affected customers are contacted directly with clear advice on their options, and to look after our Cardiff based colleagues and crew.

Staff working at Wizz Air’s Cardiff base will be offered positions the carriers other UK bases.

“Real shame”

Reacting to the announcement, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport, Minister Natasha Asghar MS called the airlines closure “a real shame”.

Minister Natasha Asghar MS added: “More worryingly is what this means for the airport itself – I really want to see it flourish in private hands but instead in languishes in the ownership of the Labour Government who is flying the airport off the runway into terminal decline.

“We can see this most clearly when looking at passenger numbers at Cardiff which are down 44% on pre-pandemic levels when Bristol Airport is down just 5%.

“It also shows a wider failure of a strategy from Labour ministers who think a successful way to run a transport network is to cluelessly run its only commercial airport, ban roadbuilding, impose lower speed limits without local consultation, and run poor quality trains.”

“Serious questions”

Commenting on the airline’s closure, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Jane Dodds said: “Serious questions now need to be answered about Labour’s strategy for the future of the Airport. With a bill of £210 million since the Welsh Government purchased the Airport and no sign of things improving, taxpayers will rightly be asking what value for money they are getting.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats led to charge against the purchase of the Airport from the private sector in 2013 and we have continued to be vindicated since. Imagine what £210 million of taxpayers’ money could have done if it had been plowed into sustainable transport in Wales instead.”


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Rob
Rob
29 days ago

Quote: “Smaller airports are vital to regional economies across the UK and we urge the UK Government to provide the support to put them on a secure footing for the future.”

Thats not going to happen for Cardiff though is it? The Tories would love to see Cardiff fail so that they can blame it on Labour

Owen williams
Owen williams
29 days ago
Reply to  Rob

But it is the welsh govt fault isn’t it? This is an airport they control and to be honest it’s gone backwards. That’s not the tories, that’s labour,

Rob
Rob
29 days ago
Reply to  Owen williams

Who refused to devolve Air Passenger Duty to Wales just to keep Bristol happy? – The Tories. Who has powers over State Aid rules across the UK post Brexit, (thanks to the Internal Market Act) – the UK Government. If you read the quote you will see that they are asking for the UK governments assistance and not the Welsh Governments. I’m sure that if the Welsh Government had the powers to do so then they would. Granted Labour do tend to shift the blame on London over matters that they already have control of, and the blame game between… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
29 days ago
Reply to  Owen williams

Manchester airport is owned by a consortium of local councils, and is doing really well, but there again, they are not hindered, by artificially high landing fees and UK Tory Gov dictated passenger duty costs, as they are devolved for both Manchester and Bristol, and considerably less than Cardiff have to charge airlines. (This is to hold Cardiff back, as has been admitted by Tory’s in the past).

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
29 days ago
Reply to  Owen williams

It’s a GOCO – government owned contractor operated.
If you have bought faulty goods from Sports Direct, who do you take your complaint to, the store manager or Mike Ashley?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
29 days ago

Awful name, awful colour scheme…

hdavies15
hdavies15
29 days ago

MS Asghar overlooks the fact that the airport was on its knees financially before the Welsh Labour government decided to buy it and plough even more funds into it over a number of years. If success under private ownership is the best benchmark for any kind of success then this sorry tale doesn’t auger well for the future at Rhoose. Which private sector operator in its right mind would even look at it? Unless it was literally given away for a few £s, in which case another of those sharp, smooth talking developers from beyond Clawdd Offa would likely snap… Read more »

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
29 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Indeed. When it was under private ownership, it was a basket case.
It’s not helped by the weasel Cairns refusing to devolve APD to the Senedd, in case it affected Bristol Airport.

If the Welsh Tories got hold of the airport, they’d close it and flog off the land to their greasy spiv mates.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
29 days ago

The fat odious Tory leader in Wales would love to close Cardiff airport down as a country Wales needs an Airport its own Airport we have been pooped on by England with air passenger duty not to damage bristol we are at a disadvantage like everything else its like going into a boxing match with your 2 hands tied behind your back

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
29 days ago

Today I saw that Tory troll Andrew RT Davies on ITV Wales bemoaning carrier Whizz leaving Cardiff. He arrogantly stated in the interview how Cardiff’s loss will be Bristol’s gain slyly omitting that it was he, the Welsh Secretary David Jones, who agreed with their beloved English Conservative Government in London when they blocked the Welsh Government’s request for the devolution of Air Tax Duty to our Senedd, powers I might add gifted to both Scotland & Northern Ireland, citing it would give Cardiff an unfair advantage over Bristol their lame reason. Also, in 2013 Andrew RT Davies criticised Welsh… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Y Cymro
Rob
Rob
29 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Bristol Airport argued that customers in south Wales having to use Cardiff Airport and not Bristol would somehow be more inconvenient for them (explain the logic to that for me?). They also made some patronising comment about air tax competition between Wales and England with a ‘this is not the Six Nations’ remark. As someone who flies regularly I will never fly from Bristol because of this, even if the flights are cheaper. I would be happy to travel further and fly from Heathrow or Birmingham, if I have to. Logically if I was living up north I would use… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Rob
Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
28 days ago

There is zero chance of APD being devolved so I’ll stick with Bristol Airport

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