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Cardiff Airport - General Thread

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planenut321

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Heard on the :pleasantry: reliable :pleasantry: dried plum forum that Onur Air may not be at CWL for 09, but the rumor of Aer Lingus is supposidly back on....
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

I would be surprised if Onur withdraw. Turkey is supposed to be going to benefit this coming holiday season as it is not in the Eurozone.
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

CWL And Its Management

There has been a lot of criticism of the current CWL management, both on aviation message boards and in the wider community around Cardiff with letters to the local press etc, regarding a perceived lack of enterprise in taking the airport forward, with comparisons often made with the nearby airport serving Bristol.

Aren’t the real culprits though, if indeed there any culprits, to be found amongst those running CWL in the 1990s? Through the 1980s and the early 1990s, when both airports’ traffic was predominantly charter based, there was a parity in routes served and passengers handled. Then sometime around 1993/1994 I remember the late Les Wilson (BRS MD) announcing triumphantly to the local press (Les never did anything quietly when he had his beloved airport to promote) that Bristol had handled more passengers that year than Cardiff and Exeter airports combined.

By 1996 the seeds of an expanding scheduled network at BRS, albeit mainly with turbo props, were beginning to blossom, and the airport handled 1.39 million passengers that year compared to CWL’s 1.00 million. Four years on found BRS handling 2.12 million passengers in 2000 (about CWL’s number now) and CWL handled 1.50 million, and this was still before the advent of low cost airlines to the two airports that almost face each other across the Severn estuary, apart from the Ryanair DUB service from both.

So BRS was gathering momentum, but it must have been a surprise even to its management when it was selected to be Go’s second base after the airline’s consultants had ‘cast their net widely about Europe’ (Barbara Cassani’s words in her book about her airline). She put the choice down to the dynamism of the BRS management team and the airport’s hinterland made up of many wealthy people wanting to fly locally. Passenger numbers exceeded expectations and she and some of her senior staff day-dreamed of making BRS their main base because of the quality of life in the West Country.

I have heard it said that BRS was lucky to attract Go. I disagree. I think it was mainly down to hard work of the management and staff, although the airport is fortunate to be based amongst a very prosperous segment of the the country.

easyJet ultimately absorbed Go and the expansion continued at break-neck pace. In the face of such a juggernaut operating almost in its shadow perhaps it is no surprise that the CWL management has struggled to keep up because the effective catchments overlap, and BRS’s larger and wealthier core catchment means it needs to attract fewer passengers from the CWL core catchment to make a service viable than would be the reverse case. Why else would airlines pour in routes and aircraft to an airport difficult to reach, with a short runway, high elevation, subject to frequent mist and fog and located in a physically constrained site?

It has been mentioned more than once that charters are the way for CWL to grab back a bit of the initiative. There may be some truth in this because the charter market is a much more level playing field than the scheduled. In 2007 BRS saw 1.35 million charter passengers out of an overall total of 5.84 million, whilst CWL handled 0.97 million charter passengers out of an overall total of 2.09 million. 2008’s annual totals are not yet published by the CAA but a glance at random months in the year suggests the gap in the charter market remains relatively close, certainly compared to the scheduled market.

The other thing that would undoubtedly help CWL’s cause is if the planning authorities reject BRS’s ambitious infrastructure expansion plans that are due to be submitted this year. A decision might take a year or two because a planning enquiry is thought likely so even if approval is eventually given BRS might not see a much-needed terminal expansion until three or four years from now.

That might be a window of opportunity for the CWL management because if, say, 2010 coincides with an economic recovery BRS might well be handling in excess of 7 million passengers per annum by then and at peak times the terminal will be creaking with the numbers.

Anyone got any thoughts on any of this?
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

This was in todays local press

Airport begs for help to keep up with rival


CARDIFF AIRPORT last night begged the Assembly Government for financial help to close the gap on Bristol – after its leading rival announced major enlargement plans.

Bristol International Airport (BIA), plans to extend its terminal building, and add car parking and aircraft stands, among other things.

The plans are expected to generate up to 4,000 new jobs.

BIA said the majority of the proposed development would sit within its 176-hectare site, and would bring up to £343m a year into the south-west region.

Managers at Cardiff International Airport (CIA) said it faced a challenge to persuade airlines that Wales was a more financially secure base than Bristol, but it needed support to do so. A spokesman said it was working with the Assembly Government to find ways to introduce new destinations.

Business development director of CIA, Steve Hodgetts, said: “Bristol has an enormous number of places you can fly to – its catchment area is twice the size of South Wales.

“It has four million people whereas we have two million.

“It’s a very wealthy area and a good place for airlines to invest.

“We are concerned that one in five of Bristol customers live in South Wales. We understand we need more routes.”

Mr Hodgetts added: “We need to get airlines to think that South Wales is more attractive and it’s very difficult when people are being pulled over the bridge (to Bristol).

The Assembly Government has previously been criticised for apparently being slow to act in supporting the airline industry in Wales.

Its Route Development Fund, which supports flights to destinations which could bring business or tourism to Wales, was set up too late for it to be effective, in comparison with the rest of the UK, critics said.

Mr Hodgetts recently set out his concerns for CIA before the Welsh Affairs Committee, on the provision of cross-border public services for Wales.

He said, “The regions support airlines being brought in through investment packages.

“Cardiff hasn’t had that sort of assistance from the Welsh Assembly Government.

“Bristol has a big advantage. Cardiff has to try and close the gap. We need help to do that.

“We are working with the Assembly Government to identify how we can close the risks down.

“We want to look after our own customers; the ones that would use us if we had the right destinations.”

Martin Evans, external research fellow in the Wales Transport Research Centre at the University of Glamorgan, said Cardiff would lose out as Bristol built on the number of destinations it could offer.

“They can only offer extra destinations if there are airlines who want to serve them,” he said.

“Cardiff is ready for airlines who want to operate out of there. They have to be persuaded there’s a market from Cardiff to be served.

“They have to be convinced to come and make that investment.

“This is not something that airport management is going to be able to cope with on its own.

“Now is the time for the Assembly Government to work together with the airport, which it is doing at the moment, in order to provide that encouragement to come to Cardiff.”
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

I'm not too sure what help from the WAG CWL has in mind.

The comments from Mr Hodgetts suggest the English regions support airlines. I can't speak for the whole country but the unelected quango that is the South West Regional Development Agency certainly doesn't. Indeed, a few months ago it announced a policy that it would no longer support any of its airports financially and, so far as BRS is concerned, the only support it ever got from the SWRDA was £1.5 million to invest in infrastructure to support the CO EWR service, AFTER the airport had secured the route.

I'm a firm believer in markets finding their natural level (in any business, not just aviation) without help from government or quangos because this can distort markets with knock-on detrimental effects not always recognised at the outset.

Mr Hodgetts echos my comment about the wealthy catchment in which BRS sits and there is not a lot that the WAG or CWL can do about this. BRS's thinner routes would be thin if the same destinations were operated from CWL but, as I mentioned above, CWL would need greater numbers from the West Country to make them viable than BRS does from South Wales. In a nutshell, that is the predicament in which CWL finds itself.

I visited the expansion plans exhibition at BRS today and spoke to one of the airport's consultants in this venture. He confirmed that if the plans are eventually rejected there is no plan B (there cannot be one) and that the airport would effectively be capped at around 7.5 million passengers per year which is the maximum he reckons the current terminal can handle. If the economy improves that figure could be almost reached by 2010 by which time we should know the final outcome of the BRS expansion planning applications.

If they are rejected the field will be open for the likes of CWL and EXT to begin making real progress so 'supporters' of CWL should keep everything crossed. :diablo: .

If they are approved it might not be good news for CWL because BRS would be looking at an airport easily capable of handling 10 million pax per annum including an increase in parking stands with three capable of taking wide-bodies (they have the B 787 in mind) connected by air bridges.

However, there are many obstacles to be overcome in the planning stakes and I still have a concern about the CO route to EWR in these extremely uncertain times. To lose this, even in understandable circumstances in the present climate, would not be good news for the airport's reputation.
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

I note a report in the South Wales press today says the Welsh Conservatives are getting behind CWL's plea for help from the WAG.

This is in stark contrast to the Conservatives in the Bristol area who seem set on ensuring that BRS expands no further.
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Yes I saw that article as well. It is the Conservative AMs I think that are getting behind it rather than MPs, which gives it a different slant I suppose. Will see if WAG gets behind it.

I don't really know what the "discussions" are between CWL and WAG, but am going to try to get to the bottom of it if I can.

Interesting to see that Carnival Cruises UK which includes P&O and Princess Cruises have stated they are going to have more cruis flights from CWL next winter. It seems they are planing more than this winter. Does anyone know if the flights from CWL are from CWL only or do they come from, say LGW, first then go from CWL to destination. Are these flights full?
 

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I can't answer the point about the flights although I think mathers said as far as he knew the cruise flights from CWL were just from there.

As for the Conservatives in the West, it seems that both local Westminster MPs and West Country MEPs are reluctant to back expansion at BRS.

Last year I tackled the Tory MEP with special responsibility for the Bristol region who had seemed very cool on the airport. Her reply was evasive and full of nonsensical 'MP-speak'.
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Well, looking good on the cruise flights and they are usually 767s so that's good. Also, of course the TOM flights with Thomsons cruises as well, which I think are every 4 weeks.

Well as with any politician, as we all know, they never answer the question that's being asked, and half the time they talk utter drivvel anyway, whichever political party they come from. Interesting point though that it seems there's a lot more oppostion for expansion at BRS than at CWL, although at CWL you have the opposition of the improvement of road access.
 

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The cruise market from CWL appears very healthy. Something not only for the aiport to build on but also for the management to expand into other areas.

There is a vocal minority of opposition to expansion at BRS and they are an extremely well-organised group.

That said, local newspaper and local tv polls consistently show that around 70% of the population in the rgion as a whole is in favour of expansion.

I've touched on this in more detail this evening in the Bristol Infrastructure Developments thread.
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Thanks Local. I have had a look at that thread.

As for the cruise market from CWL it looks encouraging. I agree that it is something to build on and also for the management to expand into other areas. I am aware that apart from P&O and Princess cruises, there are a few flights to the Caribbean with Fred Olsen from CWL as well, using TOM flights. They do seem to be very popular and fill up quickly. Sometime last year I did a dummy booking on P&Os website for a Caribbean fly cruise from CWL and each one I tried the flight was fully booked, and this was a few months before they were due to fly
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Cardiff International Airport optimistic on year ahead

THE number of passengers flying out of Cardiff International fell marginally in 2008.

Management at the airport in Rhoose said that international passengers, which make up around 80% of the total, fell by around 100,000 on 2007.

In 2008, the number of international passengers stood at around 1.59m, compared to 1.7m the year before.

The total number of passengers from Cardiff in 2008 was 1.98m, which is down from more than two million in 2007.

But the airport is confident people will continue to use the airport in the next year, and that its loyal customer base will remain committed to using Cardiff International through the recession.

Provisional figures show that in 2008, there were 409,274 passengers on scheduled flights to other UK airports from Cardiff. That compares to 421,537 the year before.

However, there has been a steady increase in passenger numbers year on year from the airport to internal destinations since 2001. As well as that, the domestic flight statistics for 2008 do not include charter flights, which would also boost the total passengers carried from the airport.

International passengers at Cardiff totalled 1.7m in 2007, compared with more than three million at Edinburgh, four million at Bristol and two million at Leeds.

A spokesman for Cardiff International Airport said: “There is strong evidence that taking a holiday is essential for many people and they would choose to give up other things to take a break.

“There is a an extensive range of destinations available from Cardiff and we are confident travellers in South Wales will continue to support the local economy by choosing to fly from Cardiff International Airport this year.”

The airport is keen to attract new destinations, seeing the business community as a crucial sector for growth in future. It launched a campaign last year, You Could If You Would, in an effort to secure new international routes for executives.

Five of the top 10 destinations wanted are in Germany, with Frankfurt in second place, joined by Duesseldorf, Munich, Cologne and Hamburg.

Other top 10 cities include Brussels, New York, London, Milan and, in first place, Scotland’s third city, Aberdeen.

The need for Cardiff to remain competitive was brought into sharp focus when rival airport Bristol (BIA) last week announced a multi-million-pound expansion plan which it said would generate up to 4,000 jobs.

BIA said the majority of the proposed development would sit within its 176-hectare site, and would bring up to £343m a year into the South-West region.

Source
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Re the top ten cities in the business poll I think that London is too close to make air travel viable. It's been tried before. Air Wales had a good go earlier this century with up to 3 x daily weekday rotations at one point. The take-up was disappointing and eventually rotations were reduced in number before the route was axed. It actually started as a Swansea-Cardiff-London City route when Swansea Airport enjoyed a brief resurgence.

Brussels too has been tried before, most recently by Eastern but that was short-lived with average loads of around 5 or 6. Air Wales tried it before that with similar results. When the BA franchisees were more in evidence at CWL the route did better when J 41s were used with some services via Southampton.

It's a job to see which airline would have the right-sized equipment for BRU. Flybe tried an Exeter to Brussels a year or so ago but it was not popular and was quickly axed. The Brussels Airlines operation from Bristol was 4 x daily a few years back but is now 2 x daily and even then the ARJ 85s are rarely much more than half to three-quarters full.

Milan is more likely. If Ryanair and easyJet can go daily throughout the year against each other from Bristol then someone might well look at CWL.

New York is problematical. The CO route across the Severn casts a shadow over CWL's chances although if CO pull out from BRS someone might be tempted to try from CWL. Trouble is they would need to attract people from beyond the CWL core catchment, mainly the West Country and South Midlands, and that might be a big ask, bearing in mind the alternatives at LHR and BHX for those people.

Not sure how well German cities would do. I can't think regular services (which they would have to be for business people) would succeed on 737-size equipment. Flybe might be the answer but even here I suspect Hamburg and Munich are really wishful thinking. easyJet tried Hamburg from Bristol three or four years ago but loads were moderate and they pulled the route after a year.

The OLT service from Bristol to Hamburg and Bremen is really an inhouse route for Airbus. It used to operate from Filton but was switched to Lulsgate so that non aviation industry fare-paying members of the public could travel and help with the costs. I don't think Cardiff has many business connection with northern Germany that might be exploited in this way.

Of course, our old chums FlyForBeans might have Germany in their sights and could be looking at destinations that many (including me) think are very risky. I would be the first to say well done if they are, and do, and succeed.

At least Aberdeen is to begin soon. That's a start and I would not be surprised to see one or two new routes in the not too distant future, but whether they are 'top ten' routes remains to be seen.
 

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Belgian success gives wings to Cardiff airport’s expansion plans

BOSSES at Cardiff International Airport are in talks with the Assembly Government to see if it can be expanded to offer more flights and compete with Bristol.

Direct government support for airports is subject to strict EU rules, but a recent European Court ruling relating to the Belgian airport, Charleroi, appears to sanction spending on “lesser known” airports in order to boost economic development.

The court ruling, handed down in December, says: “The judgement may be expected to enable member states to improve access to their lesser known, regional airports, permitting them to offer incentives to airline operators.”

For years, the debate over the development of Cardiff airport has focused on the poor road and rail access, but its supporters view this as a red herring because access to Bristol is, if anything, worse.

The key instead, they believe, is attracting more airlines to fly in and out of the city and offer a greater range of destinations.

Executives from Cardiff International Airport met Westminster’s Air Minister Jim Fitzpatrick and Wales Office Minister Wayne David last week, together with Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd – a long-standing supporter of expansion at Cardiff.

Steve Hodgetts, the airport’s director of business development, said: “It’s about finding the formula for what everyone agrees is the right thing, which is supporting Cardiff airport.

“There is a sense of urgency about this, we’re making good progress.

“From our point of view, we want to serve the Welsh market. For us, our biggest aim is to steal people who go to Bristol and get them to come here.

“At the moment you can get to more places at airports other than Cardiff – the [access] road is not really the issue. If we can get more flights, more people can use the airport.”

Ms Clwyd said: “It’s the natural airport for Wales, it’s also the airport for the capital city of Wales; it’s unlike other regional airports in that way.

“At a time when, economically, things are difficult, it would greatly help businesses if we could get direct flights to Paris, Brussels, New York.”

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: “We continue to provide support to Cardiff International Airport through the Route Development Fund and Welsh Assembly Government officials have held meetings with Cardiff International Airport officials about the possibility of other forms of support.”

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

I'm not personally fold of this kind of idea. I wouldn't be against WAG funding infrastructure improvements to perhaps entice more business to Cardiff but I don't think government hand outs to airlines are the right way forward. The proximity of Bristol airport which has expanded on its own accord would be undermined by unnatural growth at Cardiff.
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

I'm a firm believer in markets finding their natural level (in any business, not just aviation) without help from government or quangos because this can distort markets with knock-on detrimental effects not always recognised at the outset.
Aviador, I posted similar sentiments in this thread on a previous page, reproduced above.

That said, I do believe that the Cardiff region is underserved and ought to be able to support significantly more routes.

Instead of asking for public handouts to help their business (and haven't we already seen too much of this on a far greater scale with the banks?) the management and owners of CWL ought to be more proactive. Bristol might have a larger core catchment, business centre and reservoir of well-off leisure travellers but it's not so much bigger that it justifies the current disparity in air services.

That has come about by the excellence of the Bristol management and of the 'can-do' attitude of its owners.

For example, had CWL not jibbed at accommodating Ryanair's demands that airline would not have pulled out of CWL and would very likely have set up a base there in competition with easyJet across the river. Because of the CWL intransigence Ryanair expanded their wares at Bristol instead. Now, I'm not a big fan of Ryanair but at least they would have brought desperately needed routes to South Wales.

The management and owners should be looking closely at their own ineptitude and not wailing and gnashing teeth at the unfairness of it all. It's not unfair, it's business and the CWL team needs to recognise this quickly. Because of their past ineptitude their task is all the harder in that they allowed Bristol to race ahead.

Again in my earlier post I pointed out that both airports share an overlap in outer catchment and also require to take punters from each other's core catchment to make some routes viable. It's up to the CWL people to show they are up to it - by their own deeds.
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Cardiff Airport seeks govt funding

Cardiff Airport is in the final stages of securing "significant funding" for the extension of its passenger capacity.

That is according to The Western Mail, which reports that officials from the aviation hub have met with the Welsh Assembly, as it looks to rival Bristol Airport as the region's primary international departure centre.

Particular emphasis has been placed on the airport's poor transport links - such as its rail and road links - and its inability to attract major European carriers.

Steve Hodgetts, Cardiff Airport's director of business development, believes that more people will use the airport as the number of flights increase.

He told the regional newspaper: "From our point of view, we want to serve the Welsh market. For us, our biggest aim is to steal people who go to Bristol, and get them to come here."

Cardiff Airport presently offers both scheduled and chartered flights to domestic and European destinations and handles around two million passengers annually.

Source
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Well lets hope they don't attract Ryanair, after hearing today that they are considering charging £1 to use the aircraft toilets, that won't be very popular with their regular customers if they decide to do this. Lets hope they stay away from CWL
 

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Their strategy now becomes clearer.

They chose BRS knowing the cider drinkers would be a ready source of toilet income. :drinks:
 

Em0866

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Re: Cardiff Airport - Main Thread

Good one Local lol.

Seeing that it's St David's day tomorrow, does anyone think there's a possibility of a decision on the rebranding of the airport name announcement possibly for tomorrow or the next few days?
 

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