I doubt WAG could ever bring itself to do that, because of its constitutional commitment to sustainable development.
More bad news for Cardiff Airport - passenger numbers down 200k -
On a brighter note there are apparently new services to Zurich, Verona, Naples, Madeira although it looks like BMI are scaling back operations.
This may be part of a wider drop in passenger numbers due to current economic circumstances but the drop does seem considerable.
We've been saying it on this forum for ages - this airport is effectively being administered the last rites.
A third consecutive set of annual PAX numbers in freefall hammers home the point.
The previous management at Cardiff airport sat back and got complacent and Bristol ran rings around them.
Announcements of 'new routes' are seldom cause for celebration at Cardiff airport. Very often these 'new routes' announcements are just token PR guff. The flights are usually weekly, chartered and sometimes the services never even start!
Take last years' announcement of exciting new 'flights to Munich with BMI' - except when I tried to book a return last month I discovered that the press release was just bollocks because BMI weren't actually operating that route any more (not that there was any kind of press release telling us that).
When Ryanair pulled out from their ONE Dublin route about 5 years ago citing increased charges,alarm bells were ringing loud and clear.
Over the last 5 years, Bristol has expanded its route network to cover over 50 Ryanair/Easyjet European destinations. Cardiff has expanded to include a highly subsidised flight to Anglesey.
I don't know how much money the airport makes, but if passenger numbers continue to tumble and either BMIbaby or KLM pull out, then its viability could well be called into question.
It's worrying news indeed. I'd say if passenger numbers fall below the 1million mark it might very well be curtains. Lucky they dropped the "International" in the name then.
Just throwing out a few ideas here but:
1. Merger with Bristol on a "one airport two sites" model. Cardiff using its longer runway for long-haul and hub-to-hub flights, reducing the pressure on the London airports, Bristol taking the short-haul and bucket-and-spade flights.
2. An arms-length WAG-private partnership company takes over Cardiff Airport and runs it as a company limited by guarantee, similar to Welsh Water and Plaid recently mooted for the railways. Not sure if this would violate EU state aid rules though.
3. "Flyforbeans" actually launches. It would be great to have a low-cost airline based entirely at Cardiff considering the screw ups with Ryanair and Easyjet.
Just one problem with the suggestions above - Abertis own the airport and it's a profitable investment for them.
And let's not forget the fact that the aiport is the product of the local economy and not the other way round. Is it a coincidence that Bristol Airport appears to be doing better when Bristol is the most prosperous city in GVA terms outside London?
Better to focus on how the public sector could work with the airport to de-risk any new routes that might be on the margins of being feasible. As long as any investment would deliver a return elsewhere in the South Wales economy of course.
I can't help but wonder whether it will continue to be a profitable airport if PAX keep dropping off in double digits per annum.
What I also don't understand is why (if tourism is supposed to be the number one sector in Wales) absolutely no foreign players are even interested in flying here.
I'm not talking about foreign airlines setting up a regional base at the airport, I'm merely talking about one of them having Cardiff as a 'spoke' on their 'hub and route' maps.
Re: your point on tourism - most tourists incoming to Wales are from the domestic market, particularly London, SW England, West Midlands, North West. Less of a need to fly than let's say Glasgow and Edinburgh which are miles away from other major population densities.
True - but we're obviously not going to have many international visitors if you can't fly here are we!
The airport could be more aptly renamed Dodo International.
Slightly contradictory argument that isn't it Stelios? It can't be argued on the one hand that Bristol is doing really well and then argued on the other that people can't fly to Wales. Bristol Airport is, after all, pretty close with lots and lots of international routes (as is Heathrow, Birmingham, Exeter, East Midlands.....)
Capitall - doesn't the fact that Exeter has more international routes than Cardiff stop and make you think that possibly, just possibly, there might have been a lack of strategy at Cardiff airport a few years back when UK air traffic was undergoing its biggest expansion in modern history
Why aren't Glaswegians automatically expected to travel to Edinburgh to fly or vice versa? It's only 50 miles between the two yet they both have Easyjet route networks that would make Cardiff green with envy.
Ditto for the folk from Newcastle - it's only 100 miles to Manchester from there but they've still got a red hot list of European destinations (and Dubai FFS!) departing from Newcastle airport.
Ultimately I'm glad that Bristol Airport (and all the others across the UK) have managed to make such a success of their airport expansions to offer us flightless Welsh more choice.
Found this graph, you have to add the 1.4m point yourself.
But the rate of the decline seems to be easing, should level off at 1.1M to 1.2M !
Maybe they should concentrate on parking and shops and just bus passengers over to Bristol
The new Air Service from Cardiff operated by Helvetic Airways which starts in June. The cheapest return I can find is £234. So this ain't going to be Cardiff's savior
PS I luv the cheesy picture of Dylan Jones!
One thing that 'benefits' many airports is that they are far enough away from London to support services to London. Look at the figures for Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Newcastle etc.
Cardiff benefits from being closer to London, but this of course does mean that flights cannot really be justified bar the odd business trip to London City.
At a conservative guess, were Wales an island in the irish sea, and thus more reliant on flights, then London would probably bring in another 150,000 a year, helping to create the critical mass.
I'm glad to see this issue raising up the agenda anyway. I don't buy it that all is lost. The fundementals are that many thousands would prefer to fly from Cardiff.
What baffles me is that under Ryanair, 10,000 a month flew to Dublin (for example). There is an obvious demand for this and so many routes that aren't served, and I can't see why it's not being met.
I do think the regular 30 minute bus link to the city centre is essential. I think the Bristol flyer has been instrumental in it's growth.
could it ever make sense to have a regular air shuttle between Cardiff and Bristol? I suppose costs might prohibit it, but for convenience it would be great, especially for people living further west in Wales. I remember the days when KLM used to do Amsterdam-Bristol-Cardiff, and you were no sooner taking off from bristol than you were coming down into Cardiff.
Income of the catchment area is a key factor. I found this map that shows average weekly income http://img.thisismoney.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/householdincomea_952x806.jpg
Look at the average income of the Bristol Airport catchment area, then look at Exeter, then finally look at Cardiff. That's not too good and it's reflected in the international destinations served, Cardiff is very focused on Mediterranean holiday resorts as opposed to the city break destinations.
Even the better off region of Wales (sort of between Chepstow and Monmouth) falls into the zone where either it takes the same amount of time to get to either airport or less time to get to Bristol.
Considering the persistant, grinding doom-mongering about Welsh economic performance, I'd say by and large Wales comes off rather well on that map.
The wealth argument peters out when you look at Scotland and Manchester. Scotland does significantly worse than Wales, Manchester is similar to Wales. Both still have excellent airports.
Fundamentally, it comes down to having a (perceived) better airport on the doorstep and a small (population wise) catchment area. Bristol stole the march on low-cost carriers and has a better choice of destinations. Cardiff will have to be far more radical to narrow the gap.
Wales online story today;
It seems to me that Abertis (spelt Albertis my the Echo) are trying to claw back lost revenue from falling passenger numbers by implementing ridiculously high charge hikes, which will only serve to reduce their passenger numbers further.
Bristol Airport must be rubbing their hands!
Confirms that this company is only interested in sweating this asset for short term revenue rather than investing or planning for the long term. Abertis is selling no-core assets when it can, will Cardiff airport be one of those non-core assets shortly?
parking is cheaper at heathrow and gatwoch than at Cardiff, because the parking is not 'onsite'.
thats corect, its about a five minute free bus ride away from the terminal. not sure what Abertis' point is?
It's also getting pricier to travel through the drizzle to Brizzle airport these days as well.
Just discovered that the new cost of a return to Bristol Airport from Cardiff Central (ie train to Temple Meads then bus to airport) has gone up to £27. Ouch.
That's pretty damned steep.In fact it's just under half the cost of my return flight to Germany which is twenty times the distance. And they still need subsidies to run the trains!
£27 is the cost of an any time ticket, book ahead and get a super-off-peak-standby-standing-dayaway-saver and its only £20.
What? is no one able to get a lift from mates or family?
Not looking too good, NEGATIVE growth of 7% & 8% for flights and passenger numbers respectively.
CARDIFF JAN 2011:
PASSENGERS THIS MONTH: 58788
% CHANGE SAME MONTH LAST YEAR: -7.9
PASSENGERS ROLLING YEAR:1392967
% CHANGE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR: -13.4
FLIGHTS THIS MONTH:1072
% CHANGE SAME MONTH LAST YEAR: -7.2
FLIGHTS ROLLING YEAR:17110
% CHANGE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR: -15.5
How much of that fall is due to the ash cloud though? How does it compare with other airports?
It compares VERY badly with other airports judging by the link attached:
BRISTOL JAN 2011:
PASSENGERS THIS MONTH: 300,000
% CHANGE SAME MONTH LAST YEAR: UP 1.5%
PASSENGERS ROLLING YEAR:5,728,000
% CHANGE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR: UP 2%
In simple terms, year on year, Cardiff has lost a staggering 215,000 passengers and Bristol has picked up about 112,000.
Jeez! That is awful. It just makes me wish that someone had had the guts all those years ago to persevere with the idea of Severnside .
That said, I think Wales as a whole would benefit more from a better ground transport infrastructure - especially better and faster rail links into and through Wales. My feeling is that serious investment in rail would best strike the balance between economic impact, environmental concerns, and preservation of one thing that does serve Wales well - rural beauty.
Not a big shock, too far away from Cardiff or anywhere else other than Barry. Too small, rubbish transport links, both road and rail. Not enough choice of destination and the places you can go are only in the summer. The only way the downward trend can be reversed is to deal with all the problems and there is no chance of that happening now that all the money has gone.
Yup Gareth. Well summed up there. One does wonder who was making all those private and public decisions in recent years.
I think that Cardiff airport should shut down and let Bristol airport take over as the main regional airport.
I thought the Severn Barrage idea had been abandoned?
I was referring to the complete lack of infrastructure investment by WAG that has resulted in CWL becoming little more than a GA airport.
opening up Rhoose station is not investment for the airport. the whole situation is ridiculous. WAG have to take some responsibility for the failings. Do you think GLC do not consider their investments along the lines of how to utilise the assets of Heathrow, Gatwick and so forth. To hide behind 'airports are not a devolved matter' is complete tripe. On WAG's watch, CWL has fallen so far behind BRS it is unbelievable. WAG alone must take responsibility. They could and should have done something regarding infrastructure. WAG chose not to.
M/cr airport is owned by the 8 local councils that make up greater manchester. there is no reason why WAG, as a non sovereign entity, cannot own CWL.
As always, WAG hide behind the issues at hand. They could purchase CWL, they could purchase CWL via CCC/VGC, but they choose not to.
as always, pathetic.
i do not expect that CWL will improve under WAG, certainly not whilst IWJ is minister. As a minister, he is bad for Wales. he is a country solicitor and is not qualified to run a cornershop, nevermind our economic and transport development.
I agree with Jantra on IWJ.
I think he's not up to scratch as economic development minister. In fact, it's a joke that he got that department.
Our International (barely) airport sends out such a bad image of Wales, that must effect business and tourist interest in Wales, surely this should be of major concern to our Welsh 'government'? We don't like to give visitors a good first impression do we! wether they arrive by rail to cardiff central or by air to Rhoose!
All emotive points. However, Cardiff airport's biggest weakness is its location/catchment area. It is only about half that of Bristol in terms of its "flying population" within 2 hours (DfT data). The fact of the matter is, unless WAG (or whoever) provide serious subsidies, then Cardiff Airport will always struggle as a business airport.
Better in my view to push for GWML upgrade/electrification and western access to Heathrow (ie a Heathrow express from Reading). Cardiff Central to Heathrow could then be <90 minutes? (cf the one hour drive to Bristol and the 30 mins to Cardiff Airport)
Severn Barrage - not dead, only sleeping!
I tend to agree with M and besides, Wales is not that far away from a number of large international airports, whether you are talking Manchester, Birmingham or Bristol. We would be better served by having a much better rail infrastructure so you could get into, out of, and around Wales much more frequently and quickly.
If the catchment area is not big enough then:
a)why did the airport ever get built in the first place?
b)why are CWL passenger numbers plunging (against the global trend) when there are more European airlines than ever before serving more destinations across Europe* than ever before from more tin-pot** airports than ever before?
The passengers/catchment area were/are there for short haul flights to Europe. Cardiff airport failed to plan ahead and attract them, unlike Bristol.
** except Cardiff
I'll stop posting on this now cos I'm no doubt sounding like a record playing the same tune- and Karl sums up the damned situation in a nutshell below
On a related point I looked at a holiday in Montenegro a few years ago. The fact that I would have to fly to Croatia and then travel over the border really put me off for some inexplicable reason. I never did go.
I'm sure that may have some effect on potential holidaymakers/business people who want to travel to Wales.
I appreciate that south Wales doesn't have the catchment area in terms of population and potential flyers as the wider Bristol area does but the offering at Cardiff is really puny. The fact that Bristol is almost as easy to get to is cold comfort in the big scheme of things.
I'm not sure what the issues are but I think its been a perfect storm of inept and complacent management, a failure over the last 20 to 30 years to improve access, a lack of political leadership, a dynamic and robust management at our nearest rivals in Bristol etc.
CARDIFFWALESMAP - FORUM