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Jerry

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It looks like Barcelona will only be 1 weekly on Tuesdays during July.
 

TheLocalYokel

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So a case of can't the airport write a big enough cheque if they are minded to try and keep Ryanair.
You never know.

All political parties in the Senedd say they are committed to having an airport that will properly serve the needs of Wales. The post-COVID period could see some of redefinition of the UK's aviation scene. That might be an opportunity for the WG to push its claim amongst airlines that might never have previously been at or considered CWL, or whose presence is little more than nominal at the moment.

Obviously most organisations, private and public, will be cash-strapped when things begin the road back towards normality with numerous calls on them, all of which will need money. An airline such as Ryanair that can usually almost name its price when courting airports keen to welcome it on board might, with everyone under great financial pressure, have to take less than it usually demands. CWL's government ownership might just unlock some money that private sector airport owners would find difficult to justify, assuming they had any in the first place following the mass parking of aircraft and virtually no income, and then reduced income, probably for the rest of the year and beyond.
 

Foxlimayankee

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If Ryanair could fill their planes before Covid19, they would've been doing more. CWL can throw as much money as they like at FR, it doesn't mean they are going to fill the planes post Covid19.
 

Jerry

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I think the problem for the airport in incentivising Ryanair isn't that they won't fill the aircraft but more the potential of Ryanair being fickle in that they could chop the base after a few years. I think ideally maybe it would probably be better to work with them on a route by route basis. Dublin for instance is a key route that'll need to be brought back at some point.
 

TOM100

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I think CWL is in a battle for survival and to remain relevant with the now really poor route offering. I think they should go all out to attract an LCC like FR. They need to get pax numbers up and quickly after lockdown as their cash burn must be eye watering and only so long taxpayers will stomach that without any rays of light at the end of the tunnel.

EZY are not going to look at CWL and who else is there who can give CWL 1m plus pax in short order.

I agree FR are fickle but trying to build CWL on a route by route basis is going to take a very long time if they pursue this solus strategy.

Given airports make a lot of their commercial revenue through non aviation income (eg car park, retail etc) getting volume through the door is key.

They should also pursue the other airlines on some of the key routes like EDI/CDG to attract frequency, connections and more premium traffic.

I hate to say this but maybe they should also look at recruiting a bigger hitter route development person to their executive team to drive this more aggressively.

They need to pull something out of the hat and quickly imo if they are to
survive and remain a relevant choice in the people of South Wales/South West in the post pandemic world.

If they don’t do something the future looks bleak imho.

FR (even at a price) offers a way forward and volume that I cannot see coming from somewhere else. They also bring a lot of inbound traffic which is good for Wales plc, tourism and the WG’s investment. Eastern and Blue Islands, Loganair have little recognition outside the UK and might help those thin, premium routes I have mentioned above but will do nothing to help CWL make a step change I need pax numbers (and their financial positions must currently be perilous).
 

TheLocalYokel

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When Ryanair gave evidence to the Westminster Home Affairs Committee regarding APD devolution they said that the tax was preventing them setting up a bigger presence at CWL.

Short haul APD is £13 with under 16s paying nothing on an airline like Ryanair (no premium seating where under 16s do pay APD).

If Ryanair was carrying, say, half a million passengers each year at CWL that would amount to 250,000 x £13 = £3,250,000 in APD. Knock off at least £250,000 for the under 16s travelling and the figure would be around £3 million.

If the WG either through its airport company or directly (the EU rules on state aid would no longer apply from the beginning of next year unless the UK government decides to replicate them) paid the equivalent of the APD to Ryanair, it would either call Ryanair's bluff and show that their claim re APD hindering their CWL operation was merely a tactical ploy that they would use at any airport if they thought there was a chance of aviation taxes being reduced or abolished, or alternatively it would overcome a genuine Ryanair APD problem at CWL.

£3 million a year is in the same league as the reported, but never confirmed by the airport or WG, inducement to bring back Flybe in 2015.

Let's not beat about the bush. If CWL is to grow in the way its owners and senior management desire it will need a significant presence from a major low-cost airline. The likes of Eastern/Loganair/Blue Islands might provide domestic connectivity but not the required volume of passenger traffic.

Addendum

TOM100 was posting at exactly the same time as me making broadly the same points as I did.
 

Jerry

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I think one of the problems with potentially paying Ryanair to base is that the airport and WG will want a lot of European city routes included in any deal to gain better connectivity to Europe for business and inbound tourism rather than just more flights to the sun which I suspect Ryanair would lean heavily too and then routes like Edinburgh and Glasgow would still need to have airlines attracted to them.
 

TOM100

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I get what you are saying Jerry but at the moment if CWL and WG want their arms length airport company and investment to be a going concern, I don’t think they are in a position to be too choosy. CWL management were talking about ‘contagious confidence’ a few years ago - now they are at the Polaric opposite of that mantra - they have to get pax thru the door and as I have tried to explain with a sense of some urgency.

FR would buy them some time (wherever they operate to) to get CWL in peoples minds as a choice of airport - they then need to work on diversifying the airline mix to de-risk reliance on FR only. It’s easier to do this when you have people coming through the door and see the airport as an option with any relevance.

If they start getting too picky and demanding they’ll get nothing and more people will just travel down the road to BRS - and May lose the tiny FR stuff they do have (like they did when Mr Horne tried to play hard ball with them last time).

FR may not be interested in CWL but if there was ever a time to get the chequebook out and attract a major airline to secure the future of taxpayers money, livelihoods and the airports survival - the time is now.

Loganair, Eastern are not going to do too much for the airport in terms of volume, competitiveness and consumer choice (although they do have a contribution to make on some short, thin routes).

Without either Jet2 (not likely in short term imo, very seasonal and other priorities) or FR, CWL is likely to be another DTV.
 

Jerry

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I get what you are saying Jerry but at the moment if CWL and WG want their arms length airport company and investment to be a going concern, I don’t think they are in a position to be too choosy.
I'm not sure it's about them being choosy but probably cautious in not wanting to repeat the mistakes of Flybe.
As for becoming a Teesside I don't think that'll ever happen.
 

geoff

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I tend to agree with you Jerry, my fear is that should the airport manage to build a big FR presence at CWL, when MOL cannot get his own way regarding costs and fees etc, he will throw his toys out of the pram, and pull FR from the airport altogether. I think CWL would be better off trying to get a small variety of carriers so they don't fall into the same predicament as what happened with Flybe.
 

TOM100

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I agree with some of the comments but don’t think you can sustain an airport with 3-5 routes for 6 months of the year or even 8-10 on small props. As I said use FR to get numbers (and importantly right now I am guessing cash flow) and work like hell to get other carriers on the routes FR wouldn’t be interested in anyway - like EDI, CDG, BFS, ORK, GLA etc

Cash is king in any business and CWL needs to generate some and quickly after Covid and really take out as much cost as they can - no business is sustainable without cash and FR could at least bring year round revenue even if for non aviation income (assuming FR would pay less aviation fees).

Any other business would be in a fight for survival at this point and a slowly, slowly approach just wouldn’t cut it.

Yes there is some risk but no other airline (s)I can think of would fly CWL to places like FCO, WAW, TFS, LPA, MLA, BCN, MAD, LPA, FAO, PRG, RHO, CFU etc in short order. Building up a mixture of carriers could take years.

Someone like Volotea (big if) could pick off 1 or 2 of them but they don’t have anything like the pulling power and recognition of FR.

It’s a risk that should be taken imho.
 
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TheLocalYokel

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I tend to agree with you Jerry, my fear is that should the airport manage to build a big FR presence at CWL, when MOL cannot get his own way regarding costs and fees etc, he will throw his toys out of the pram, and pull FR from the airport altogether. I think CWL would be better off trying to get a small variety of carriers so they don't fall into the same predicament as what happened with Flybe.
The snag with relying on a small variety of carriers, especially if they are of the Loganair/Eastern/Blue Islands size, is that they won't deliver the volume of passenger traffic that both the government and its airport company want and need, not least to feed the ancillary revenue streams upon which most smaller airports are so reliant these days.

With aviation, like the world in general, facing the unknown, at least in the immediate future, CWL as with many airports will have a bit more time to get things in order, assuming that airports have the ability to survive the storm. In that regard CWL with its government ownership is probably better placed than some private sector airports.

Reaching the projected 3 mppa in the next decade must factor in the involvement of a serious low-cost airline presence.

A caveat is that the world of civil aviation might undergo a sea change in the next decade or two and lo-cos might no longer be the magnet that draws passengers to smaller airports. Who, for instance, 25 years ago would have forecast the almost overwhelming presence of the genre that we see nowadays?
 

TOM100

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TLY is spot on and in a year or two a change in government in Cardiff Bay could significantly change the current (to CWL) benign political landscape. So there is a burning platform.....

And what if (I really hope this isn’t the case but any responsible business should stress test various scenarios) VY or QR didn’t come back - there isn’t much left in terms of scheduled services.......
 

aviatorconcorde

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TLY is spot on and in a year or two a change in government in Cardiff Bay could significantly change the current (to CWL) benign political landscape. So there is a burning platform.....

And what if (I really hope this isn’t the case but any responsible business should stress test various scenarios) VY or QR didn’t come back - there isn’t much left in terms of scheduled services.......
The only change of government in Cardiff Bay i see is probably Vaughan Gethin eventually becoming first minister. Didn’t Drakeford say he’d only serve one term?
 

Jerry

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The only change of government in Cardiff Bay i see is probably Vaughan Gethin eventually becoming first minister. Didn’t Drakeford say he’d only serve one term?
The last polls saw suggested a Labour minority government which means that they'd have to form some sort of agreement with the Conservatives or Plaid which could change the landscape for CWL especially as one of them want the airport to go back to private ownership.
 

Jerry

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It's the dilemna for the airport. I suppose it depends on what is the priority. Sheer footfall provided by Welsh passengers going on holiday. Or connectivity with the nearby countries for business connections and inbound tourism. My suspicion is that the airport will prioritize the latter.
One of the problems that the airport is facing is a slow reduction in the amount of airlines that they can work with. Their choice is essentially Ryanair and Eastern Airways as the airline they really need, Easyjet, doesn't want to know.
 

TOM100

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It’s kind of Hobson’s choice - in an ideal world of course you want the inbound tourism, business connectivity etc but Eastern (in my view and assuming they survive) are probably not going to provide the connectivity, frequency and scale the airport needs on their own - and at the price people want to pay (and I personally don’t want to travel on J41s that often).

Like TLY says if the airport is going to be a sustainable, going concern and with choice and the ability to reach 3m ppa they need a major LCC to base.

A two pronged strategy - a LCC for volume and a smaller or smaller carriers (or offerings from larger ones) for the thinner routes is the only conceivable way they can do this.

It could all be academic tho if FR are not interested.

I just want a sustainable airport for Wales, where I as a customer have some choice and flexibility and don’t have to pay through the roof when there is an alternative Orange brigade down the road.
 

aviatorconcorde

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The last polls saw suggested a Labour minority government which means that they'd have to form some sort of agreement with the Conservatives or Plaid which could change the landscape for CWL especially as one of them want the airport to go back to private ownership.
Ahh really. That’s very interesting. That does surprise me considering as we know, Wales has been Labour for years and i always felt many in Wales voted Conservative in the last election to put an end to Brexit.

I’m not sure Drakeford could win an election if it wasn’t for Wales permanently voting Labour.
 

Jerry

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Ahh really. That’s very interesting. That does surprise me considering as we know, Wales has been Labour for years and i always felt many in Wales voted Conservative in the last election to put an end to Brexit.

I’m not sure Drakeford could win an election if it wasn’t for Wales permanently voting Labour.
It's most likely the Tories will pick up a significant amount of the UKIP/Brexit party vote. Judging by Drakefords comments on Radio 4 of all nationalists being far right extremists and not socialists i suspect Labour see Plaid as their biggest threat. It's possible a Labour minority government then could be wary of the money they give CWL or use to help CWL as they'll be under much more scrutiny.
 
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