Most of you have probably passed through the empty ‘Check In’ hall and derelict gates at Cardiff Airport and then boarded a half-full 737 on your flight to a hot European place, but new light has been shone on the airport as the Welsh government buy it for £52 million. So why has this happened?
Cardiff Airport has seen a decline in passenger numbers from 2009, where 2.3 million passengers passed through the airport but only 1 million passed through in 2012. So let’s start with the history of the airport. The airport started as a small RAF base in 1942. In 1952 Irish airline ‘Aer Lingus’ started a daily flight to Dublin. Later, following a new terminal building and flights to France, Belfast and Cork, passenger numbers reached 100,000. In 1965, control of the airport was passed over to Glamorgan County Council and they planned an extension of the runway and a new terminal building which is in use today. In 1971 the first transatlantic flight to Toronto, Canada took place. 1986 saw the expansion of the runway to 7,750 feet and was now able to accommodate the 747. Charter flights to Florida were established and a new Canadian airline called ‘Wizz’ started services to Vancouver and Quebec. In 1992 the first flight to New York took place using US airlines and a 747. Cardiff airport was finally flying high, but in 2004 Canadian airline ‘Wizz’ went into administration and Cardiff lost its Canadian routes. The next year US airlines decided to leave the airport as well, leaving the only transatlantic routes with ‘Thomson’. ‘Monarch’ handled the Orlando route.
Cardiff still continued to climb with more routes opening up in European countries. In 2009, Cardiff lost the Orlando route with ‘Thomson’, and ‘Monarch’ also stopped the route due to the massively expensive landing fees set by the government. Irish airline ‘Aer Lingus’ returned to Cardiff after a 30 year absence with flights to Dublin and Cork but the Cork route was lost after 4 months due to low passenger numbers. Passenger numbers dropped to 1 million in 2010.
A new light was shone on Cardiff again in 2012, when ‘Monarch’ restarted the Orlando route, increasing to two flights a week to the sunshine state. Cardiff airport has lost many passengers over the years and many Welsh passengers now travel to Bristol or Heathrow to fly. Cardiff airport received the help it needed when, in 2013, the Welsh Government purchased the airport. They hope to increase frequency of flights to its current destinations and attract new airlines to hold routes to places like New York, Dubai and re-establish the Canadian routes. They also hope that British airline ‘Thomson’ will increase their frequency to Barbados, where they operate cruise holidays. American airline ‘Delta’ are also in talks with Cardiff airport to start routes to New York, Boston and Washington D.C.
At the moment, the airport currently operates to destinations in France, Spain, Turkey, Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt and Switzerland. The Welsh Government have already bought the new Dusseldorf route using ‘Lufthansa’ airlines, and ‘Thomson’ airlines have increased the European routes. So, you are all probably thinking what a lot of destinations there are, but half of these planes are flying out less than half-full.
So, do you think buying this airport will benefit us and bring more money and destinations to our doorsteps? Comment below.