Potential Routes


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Aviador

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Potential Routes or maybe just a wish list.

Where do you think Cardiff airport should be looking to go within the capabilities of it's catchment area?

To start the thread off, as most of you will be aware I'm from Leeds. A few years ago the defunct Yorkshire Airline Knight Air operated the route between Cardiff and Leeds. The aviation industry has changed tromendously since then and I think the route would be more successful these days. The obvious operator would be Flybe? What are your thoughts about operating this route and other potential routes that have either been operated before or new routes altogether.
 

Em0866

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I think a LBA route would be good, as I remember there used to be one. Both are cities large enough to sustain one. I also think a route to Guernsey (maybe 3 times a week). Air UK used to run this route many years ago with a Fokker prop, but only during the summer. Prague is another one that they could reintroduce. It was very popular when WW ran it. YYZ is another one that they should bring back. It ran for years (mostly in the summer months) and possibly YVR too would be good, like Zoom operated it via BFS. I also think at least one route to somewhere in Italy and also Germany. As for Brussels, it's never really worked so don't know if it would be worth to re-do that one. Those are my thoughts anyway
 

TheLocalYokel

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Some comments on Em's suggestions to begin with.

One would think that CWL-LBA ought to work although CWL-MAN has been tried by a number of turbo-prop operators in the past and apparently not been successful, with Air SouthWest the last to try.

Guernsey is a gap that needs plugging, especially in the summer. CWL-JER has done pretty well in terms of passenger numbers, even with 737s, so it is a surprise that GCI is not in the portfolio. Blue Islands tried a weekend service a couple of summers ago but it did not last so it is slightly eyebrow-raising that they are applying to start a double daily GCI-BRS service in competition with the established Aurigny operation.

Brussels is another route that has operated and, I won't say failed, because in the days of the Manx BA franchise it did all right. Since then Air Wales and Eastern tried the route for short periods but loads were very poor. BRU is an acquired taste with a relatively small number of regional airports having services and even here loads are nothing to write home about. Flybe might be reluctant having tried EXT-BRU last year but quickly axed it because of a poor take-up.

Prague did very well at CWL with bmibaby in terms of loads and it was a great shock when it was axed. I am aware that PRG has diminished in popularity from a number of UK airports since then, even before the credit crunch began to bite, so it might not be at the head of any airline's prority list at the moment.

I agree that Toronto should return. CWL has had a route to Pearson for many years with different carriers at various times. The route ended last year when Zoom went bust. Globespan's half-hearted attempt to run a Hamilton service this coming summer came to nothing, possibly a blessing in disguise for the local punters.

Vancouver did so-so in load terms when shared with BFS but it may not be a route that will return quickly, especially given the current economic situation.

I agree about a German route or even two (in theory but see later) and Italy would be very useful as would some South of France destinations. Leisure routes to, say Bergerac or Toulouse (or pencil in several other southern French destinations that could be argued might be better), perhaps three times a week in summer might be thought to be up the street of Flybe.

If we are looking at Italy purely for leisure Venice and/or Rome could be considered, again perhaps 3 x weekly.

However, if we are also looking at business travel the routes need to be daily, at least from Monday to Friday. Is there a German destination that could be sustained with no inter-lining facility? I ask this because across the Severn the Bristol-Frankfurt route is operating reasonably in terms of numbers but it carries a significant number of passengers who feed into LH's inter-continental route network. It would never be viable relying solely on passengers between Bristol and Germany.

Even with its relatively much greater track record, and larger core catchment, Bristol only has the aforementioned FRA route, its easyJet to Berlin (mainly a leisure route that sees high load factors) and the niche OLT route to Bremen. The former BACon routes to Munich and Dusseldorf have not been replaced and both easyJet and OLT at different times have axed their Hamburg routes. All this shows that Germany is not such a sure-fire winner as some imagine.

That said, if they pitch up at CWL in numbers Flybe might give FRA and/or DUS a go.

Where CWL is missing out this summer is in its long haul charters. For many years there have been summer services to Florida, up to three a week in high summer, as well as weekly charters to the Caribbean, notably the Dominican Republic. TUI, whose Britannia/Thomsonfly service has always been the backbone of these routes, has decided to operate none this summer.

Instead it has switched its attention to Bristol-Florida and Bristol-Mexico following First Choice's decision to start transatlantic charters from BRS a couple of years ago. This seems strange for at least a couple of reasons.

First, all, or nearly all, outbound flights from BRS have to operate via another UK or Irish airport to take on more fuel because of runway constraints at Lulsgate.

Second, loads from CWL, especially to Florida, have been excellent down the years (yes, I know the yield is the defining measure) whereas the Bristol loads, after an excellent start, have been good. Some say the reason TUI has gone with BRS is that Thomson's senior managers are former First Choice people and others that the routes are being worked up to await the B 787 that will be able to fly non-stop transatlantic from BRS without load penalty.

Whatever the reasons, there is a proven market at CWL for such flights and I can't imagine the void won't be filled in the near future.
 

Em0866

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I agree with you Local on the longhaul charters aspect. Will be sadly missed this year. SFB and previously MCO had been served for many years until now. I have flown to both from CWL direct with Britannia and Airtours. They could possibly start to a destination in the Caribbean. They do now on an ad hoc basis for cruises with P&O, Princess and TUI but I think they need a regular weekly or fortnightly run. Winter months would be better as the weather there is better. I can't think of another charter long haul, but I think a scheduled flight to a city on the eastern seaboard of the US would work (NY, Chicago or Boston perhaps)
 

Em0866

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I'm not too sure about that questionnaire, call me sceptical but personally I don't think they they are going to follow that list. I do hope I'm wrong though
 

TheLocalYokel

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The problem with these sorts of surveys is that people, including businesses, will say they want to fly to all sorts of places but when the crunch comes and a route is put in place the talk is not always followed by the walk (to the aircraft).

As for the comments posted since my last post, Germany may well be tried if Flybe turn to CWL in a significant way (they have hinted they will but they have made similar promises in the past about other airports and failed to carry them out, so we shall have to wait and see) and a German route might work with that airline because I understand their break-even load factors are relatively low. However, it would be much more of a likely success if an airline, whether Flybe or another, had an inter-lining facility in Germany.

I'm not sure about regular scheduled flights to the USA. New York may well work (but it will be problematical so long as that route across the Severn persists - probably not enough business for two NY routes from Severnside and its hinterland both sides of the river), but Boston and Chicago seem much more of a gamble. Even Manchester has seen major cutbacks on its US sched routes and that is over ten times the size of CWL. There are a number of regional airports without Boston or Chicago services that would be ahead of CWL in that particular queue.
 

Aviador

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TheLocalYokel said:
The problem with these sorts of surveys is that people, including businesses, will say they want to fly to all sorts of places but when the crunch comes and a route is put in place the talk is not always followed by the walk (to the aircraft).
Similar words were spoken about the Durham Tees Valley and Leeds Bradford Heathrow services prior to the routes getting canned. "use or lose" was the phrase used. It's important that people back their local airport by using the services they provide. I know it isn't always possible to do this especially when the destination you wish to go to simply isn't available. I'm sure that there are many people in the Cardiff area that would be quite happy to drive to Bristol or Birmingham to catch flights that are already on offer locally. This is a big problem for many regional airports. Cardiff, Bristol and Leeds all suffer badly from this if what we hear on these forums are to be believed. As time goes by, we are seeing a reemergence of the regional airports. Hopefully the recession wont kill this and airlines will continue to increase the routes available from our local airports.
 

TheLocalYokel

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A classic example in the South West region is the CO service from BRS to EWR, coming up to its fourth anniversary this May.

In the years leading up to the service surveys were carried out by the airport, the local press and no doubt the airline, all of which revealed overwhelming support for a New York service, especially by business.

The reality has been that the route has been supported reasonably well, but not by local business to the extent they suggested prior to its inception.

In fact, last year the airport's previous CEO publicly told local business that if they didn't use the route they could expect to lose it.

The vibes I am getting at the moment are that numbers are down in February and in March but in particular the business/first seats are not being snapped up. Understandable to a point given the world situation but business/first usually dictates profitability or otherwise of such a service.

I'm sure that many business people are still travelling to Heathrow for their US flights. When the global economy picks up and more business people decide to try the BRS-EWR link again they may find it's no longer there. It's no use their screaming because they will have been responsible for its demise.

Just a concrete example of why I'm always sceptical of route surveys by airports.
 

Aviador

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Does Cardiff have a service to Dusseldorf? The route could work well considering the number of squaddies that travel to the area from the UK.
 

TheLocalYokel

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No it doesn't. At present it has no German routes at all, though Wikipedia is suggesting Flybe is about to start some, but we know anyone can edit Wiki so that remains to be seen.

Bristol had a DUS route with BACon (also FRA and MUC) but when Flybe took over BACon it axed every one of Bristol's routes, saying they were all uneconomic. Many felt that was not the case, that Flybe had good commercial reasons of its own for abandoning Bristol (well almost, a Jersey route remains but that was a BE route not a BACon one) and was being less than forthcoming with its reasons.

What Army personnel are you especially thinking of in South Wales?
 

Aviador

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I was thinking more to do with the ones that go home to South Wales and require flights back to Germany when they return to work.
 

Em0866

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this link doesn't work welshguy, was it an article that was posted on walesonline earlier this month or a new one?
 

Aviador

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That's funny, the link worked for me yesterday when I read it. It was an article from earlier in the month.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The forum dedicated to Welsh civil aviation improvements is in the process of arranging a proving flight or flights to an as yet undecided destination or destinations. It seems they will organise ticket sales.

Venice, Prague, Barcelona and even Toronto have been mentioned as possible destinations for the proving flight(s).

The idea is to try to show a demand to potential carriers and both the CWL management and Flybe are said to be following events with interest.

It seems a fascinating concept but one that is not without potential financial risk to the organisers.
 

TheLocalYokel

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[textarea]Direct flights from Cardiff Airport to New York could be back on agenda

Hopes of landing the first scheduled airline service from Wales to North America have been rekindled.

As reported by the Western Mail last year, American airline Delta were in discussions with the Welsh Government over a potential daily service to JFK Airport in New York from Cardiff Airport.

As part of those talks, the airline was looking for a financial commitment from the Welsh Government to finance any potential losses in its first three years of operation as it looked to establish the route.

It is understood that a feasibility study commissioned by the Welsh Government estimated losses of up to £1.4m could be incurred in the first few years.

Although both parties didn’t close the door completely, the window of opportunity for Delta committing one of its aircraft for the route this year has closed. It had originally hoped to have launched in 2010 in time for the Ryder Cup at Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort.

But while talks have continued between Delta and Cardiff Airport, importantly Welsh Government officials could soon look to resume direct talks with the airline with the hope that an agreement can be reached that would see a Cardiff to New York route launched next year.

The business market has been identified as key to the commercial viability of any service, which crucially would provide a hub service for connecting Delta flights to key destinations in the US and Canada, as well as the Caribbean and Mexico.

If the Welsh Government does commit funding, it would have to skirt around EU legislation which prevents direct funding by governments to airlines. This could be done through money being assigned for an in-flight marketing campaign promoting Wales or training support.

Latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show that there are 179,000 passengers within a 60-minute drive time radius of Cardiff Airport, who fly to America each year by making use of the UK’s main airports in London as well as Luton, with a return flight coun- ting as two separate journeys.

However, for the wider 90- minute drive time market – which covers Bristol, Gloucester and other parts of South-West England – the number rises to around 506,000.

For New York’s two airports of JFK and Newark, the 90-minute drive time radius number is 100,000, of which just over half reside in the 60-minute radius category.

The numbers don’t count people flying from London’s airports and Luton to New York and then making a connecting flight to a final destination.

Cardiff Airport is currently talking to a number of international airlines.

As well as Delta it is looking to secure routes with carriers into Germany and the Middle East – with a target of accessing hub airports for connecting flights across Asia, Africa and Australasia.

It has also held preliminary discussions with Indian airline Kingfisher, as part of a recent trade mission from India to Wales organised by the Welsh Government.

Those discussions were very much first base, with the airport asked to provide details on the number of people from Wales who fly to India each year – which is around 64,000.

In a statement the airport said: “The prospect for this service [Delta] remains an opportunity and the airport’s dialogue with the airline continues.

“This is contingent on stakeholders working in partnership with the airport to secure the service, and is a subject the airport continues to discuss with the relevant parties.

“Moreover, Kingfisher has received our propositions and is considering this as a potential long-term opportunity.

“The airline is not in a hurry to expand into the Welsh market within the next five years unless a significant development was to happen within Wales, such as a trade relationship with India which would result in many thousands of passengers from India choosing to travel to Wales.”

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Government said: “We are aware that Cardiff Airport has had discussions with airlines regarding new services and would be happy to meet with any airline looking for opportunities in Wales.”

Officials from Cardiff Airport will be at a global airline route conference in Berlin this autumn, where they will be holding talks with a number of airlines, including Kingfisher.[/textarea]
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business-i ... z1VYSHtBxC

Sion Barry again - the CWL inhouse journalist? :reallyshocked:

£1.4 million doesn't sound much to underwrite the route for the first three years. But how does anyone know that would be the cost?

Delta would certainly want an open-ended financial commitment and it could lead tax payers into shelling out far more than £1.4 million.

And what if this went hand in hand with Wales being allowed to regulate its own air passenger duty? Some think the Assembly would reduce it to a negligible figure. If they did they would have to find savings elsewhere in their budget because they would be losing millions in revenue from a greatly reduced APD - the Westminster government would be sure to make a reduction in the annual grant to the Assembly in such circumstances.

So where would the money come from to support Delta? And anyway it would have to be done 'creatively' because governments in the EU are not permitted to directly subsidise air services, except for PSO routes and CWL-NYC certainly wouldn't be one of those.

It's clear that without a cast iron substantial financial commitment from the Assembly, which would have to be done throught the back door to avoid contravening EU regulations, CWL is way down the pecking order of UK regional airports on the wish list for a NYC scheduled connection.

Too many in the Welsh establishment are fixated on getting show routes to their capital's airport. It's like those Third World Countries who have no money without the 'Developed World' chipping in who then go in for a 'national airline' in the form of a battered old Boeing 707.

Cardiff needs basic routes. Get them first then bother about the 'bits waving' contest later on.
 

Aviador

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"Direct flights from Cardiff Airport to New York could be back on agenda"

LocalYokel, I only got as far as reading the title and didn't bother going on to read the rest. Cardiff airport needs to 'learn to walk before it can run'. There's is just no way any airline would even look at serving transcontinental flights from Cardiff to New York when the airport is struggling to even pick up bread & butter bucket & spade routes.
 

alphagolf

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Aviador said:
"Direct flights from Cardiff Airport to New York could be back on agenda"

LocalYokel, I only got as far as reading the title and didn't bother going on to read the rest. Cardiff airport needs to 'learn to walk before it can run'. There's is just no way any airline would even look at serving transcontinental flights from Cardiff to New York when the airport is struggling to even pick up bread & butter bucket & spade routes.
Well done Aviador, my sentiments exactly! :smile:

It saddens me to see all the pie in the sky rumours about which airline is going to come to Cardiff, do any of the rumour posters not get it, that with the current throughput of Passengers still falling at an alarming rate no transatlantic/transcontinental or trans anything else for that matter will commit to an airport of this size!

Liverpool, East Midlands and (Bristol, which lost Continental) all have far higher catchment areas and passenger throughput yet still can't attract this type of service in the current climate!

Wales needs to support the current services from Cardiff in greater numbers to show airlines there is scope for expansion, not just in the short term but more in the medium term!

Rant over!

alphagolf
 

TheLocalYokel

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Eastern Europe

I notice that Wizz Air is expanding significantly with, for example, increased frequencies next year from Luton and a new route between Belfast International and Vilnius (announced today).

CWL has no East European routes and it may be, with some financial encouragement from the Wales Government airport owners, that Wizz might be interested. It might depend on Ryanair's plans for the airport (if any) and whether the WG would be more inclined to give them a really good deal with Eastern Europe featuring.

Ryanair could operate Krakow from CWL without affecting its BRS Polish routes because it's easyJet that operates BRS-KRK. KRK is a Ryanair base so it could be done if necessary without setting up a CWL base.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Dublin visit by airport management

It's been reported that senior managers from CWL have visited Dublin for the second time in recent weeks to hold talks with airlines with speculation rising that an announcement will be made sooner rather than later about new routes and/or increased frequencies on existing ones.

It's not clear whether they've been to speak to Aer Lingus Regional, CityJet or Ryanair but the latter seems to be the popular choice amongst the rumour mongers.

I believe that Ryanair will be announcing its general summer 2015 programme very soon. Some announcements for next year have already been made, eg increased East Midland Airport frequencies on some of its routes following Monarch's pull-out. So if Ryanair is the venue for these visits it's entirely possible that CWL will be the subject of a separate, perhaps earlier, announcement.
 
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