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Old 10th Jan 2023, 21:45
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Tuned into PPRuNe hoping to find some escape from the news of emotional and self-serving, irrational out-pourings from a certain individual only to find the same sentiments awash but applied to an airport!

For whatever reason Wizz have pulled out, they have - and gone. If Cardiff was making them pots of money, they're most unlikely to have taken that step. Airlines don't tend to pull out of markets which are profitable.

Cardiff has no entitlement to a greater Belfast service than it currently has, unless demand warrants growth from the present levels and the airlines (whether that be Ryanair or Emerald/EIR) believe it will be profitable to increase flights. Same for Edinburgh. The "glory days" of multiple daily services on these routes were rapidly followed by Flybe going bust. Flybe was already reducing its presence at Cardiff before it failed completely. If even Flybe in its moribund state had concluded that Cardiff wasn't working, doesn't that tell you something?

If you were Jet2 (which I'm not, btw) and firmly established at Bristol, you'd take every opportunity to grow at Bristol and maximise presence and economies of scale with the crew base, engineering, ground handling there. It doesn't matter whether you talk about Exeter, Cardiff or anywhere else - why on earth would you want the complexity of another base nearby when a sizeable number of those customers will fly from Bristol?

For them, TUI and easyJet, you also have night movement constraints at Bristol. If there are spare night slots, you take them so your competitors can't. If you have night slots, you don't give them up, otherwise your competitors take them and increase the services they offer in competition to you, denting your own performance.

There is a heap of wishful thinking here, and much of it is being emotionally driven on the "rebound" from the Wizz announcement. I hope the airport has rather clearer line of sight to decent prospects to rebuild, which are likely to focus around Ryanair as it's a) already in Cardiff and b) is actively looking to grow and c) has a business model which appears to mean 1 or 2 aircraft bases are practical.









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Old 11th Jan 2023, 07:00
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Maybe the problem is that Wizz does not offer holiday packages but so does Ryanair ? Maybe the success of Bristol with its multiple frequencies to the various sun destinations ( Iím guessing Bristol may even have more than Birmingham on a daily basis ?) makes competing even harder. If Ryanair could have Iím pretty sure that they would have based ages ago at Cardiff .

Here is my suggestion. Stop obsessing what other airports are getting , stop thinking about based aircraft and encourage existing and loyal airlines such as Tui and Vueling to grow again on what Cardiff does best - Spain and encourage Ryanair to gradually grow its presence by flying Ďwí patterns from other bases as they already do so maybe encourage adding Palma , Alicante , Tenerife and Lanzarote and who knows like Bristol it may in the future grow into a base.

all airports suffer setbacks - Bristol with BA connect and Bhx with Monarch but they got back up. Cardiff can too by working with whatís already there. Thereís a market just have to grow it
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 07:06
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What does CWL need to be to make a profit? Would adding a 1/2 a/c RYR base to the existing activities get them there?
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 07:16
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Originally Posted by marko1 View Post
Maybe the problem is that Wizz does not offer holiday packages but so does Ryanair ? Maybe the success of Bristol with its multiple frequencies to the various sun destinations ( Iím guessing Bristol may even have more than Birmingham on a daily basis ?) makes competing even harder. If Ryanair could have Iím pretty sure that they would have based ages ago at Cardiff . Here is my suggestion. Stop obsessing what other airports are getting , stop thinking about based aircraft and encourage existing and loyal airlines such as Tui and Vueling to grow again on what Cardiff does best - Spain and encourage Ryanair to gradually grow its presence by flying Ďwí patterns from other bases as they already do so maybe encourage adding Palma , Alicante , Tenerife and Lanzarote and who knows like Bristol it may in the future grow into a base. all airports suffer setbacks - Bristol with BA connect and Bhx with Monarch but they got back up. Cardiff can too by working with whatís already there. Thereís a market just have to grow it
​​​​​​​Cardiff will always struggle since Easyjet grew so big at Bristol. There's is undoubtedly a decent proportion of BRS millions of passengers that come from Wales. People from Wales often count BRS as their primary airport, for some BRS is probably closer and easier to reach than CWL.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​BRS was always in a much better position to deal with things like the pandemic as they already had volume on their side. CWL has the potential to reach say 2m passengers.Whats needed is an Airline that has the low fares and pulling power to win people back to choosing CWL over BRS on routes that are operated at both. It was hoped Wizz would do that but they didn't get it right.​​​​​​​Ryanair is probably the only feasible option left, and totally agree it should be done on non based aircraft to test what viable. If that happens then hopefully in the near future it could warrant a base.
with DUB daily, AGP and FAO both twice weekly and potential for increased frequencies to both with Wizz gone and Vueling reducing, it might not take much to at least warrant a 1 ac base.
There will come a point, if it didn't arrive yesterday, where serious questions need to be asked, especially with the black cloud of government ownership hanging over, about the viability of CWL. But then there are other regional airports in similar situation that continue without issue.

The reaction of Vueling and Ryanair to yesterday's news will speak volumes.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 10:32
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The problem for CWL is establishing its USPs (unique selling points). Clearly, for a start it has a longer runway that neighbouring BRS, but that is probably to some extent negated by the poor road links even though road access to BRS is hardly fantastic. It clearly isn't constrained by a NIMBY council as BRS is, so you would have thought that attracting carriers to service not only the immediate South Wales catchment but also passengers from across the border wouldn't necessarily be an issue.

Of course, Bristol and the immediate surrounding area is more affluent than Cardiff, Swansea and Newport which makes expanding into routes beyond the base Alicante, Malaga, Balearics and Canaries more of a challenge, and for whatever reason inbound tourism to South Wales is on a far smaller scale than Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular. Why that is, apart from the North American "Scots" heritage thing it is difficult to fathom. I'm sure the Welsh must have emigrated in numbers around the globe but there doesn't appear to be the same "pull" that brings descendants to Wales to visit their ancestral homes.

Perhaps part of the problem in attracting visitors to Wales from outside the UK might have to do with marketing. The Scottish tourist organisations (is it Visit Scotland these days?) are always very active, and the country is promoted as "the home of golf" but is there any reason why golf can't be promoted better in Wales; Cardiff has Celtic Manor Resort on its doorstep for one. There must be many other splendid courses around Gower, Pembrokeshire etc? Then there is the history, the language, the culture. Wales ought to be a big inbound market. If the Welsh government is responsible for tourism development they are perhaps not doing all they could to market the Principality abroad, and then to bring visitors in through the airport which is also state owned.

I'm not stating any of this as fact, but just thinking out load as to what the issues might be in making CWL successful.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 11:01
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
The problem for CWL is establishing its USPs (unique selling points). Clearly, for a start it has a longer runway that neighbouring BRS, but that is probably to some extent negated by the poor road links even though road access to BRS is hardly fantastic. It clearly isn't constrained by a NIMBY council as BRS is, so you would have thought that attracting carriers to service not only the immediate South Wales catchment but also passengers from across the border wouldn't necessarily be an issue.

Of course, Bristol and the immediate surrounding area is more affluent than Cardiff, Swansea and Newport which makes expanding into routes beyond the base Alicante, Malaga, Balearics and Canaries more of a challenge, and for whatever reason inbound tourism to South Wales is on a far smaller scale than Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular. Why that is, apart from the North American "Scots" heritage thing it is difficult to fathom. I'm sure the Welsh must have emigrated in numbers around the globe but there doesn't appear to be the same "pull" that brings descendants to Wales to visit their ancestral homes.

Perhaps part of the problem in attracting visitors to Wales from outside the UK might have to do with marketing. The Scottish tourist organisations (is it Visit Scotland these days?) are always very active, and the country is promoted as "the home of golf" but is there any reason why golf can't be promoted better in Wales; Cardiff has Celtic Manor Resort on its doorstep for one. There must be many other splendid courses around Gower, Pembrokeshire etc? Then there is the history, the language, the culture. Wales ought to be a big inbound market. If the Welsh government is responsible for tourism development they are perhaps not doing all they could to market the Principality abroad, and then to bring visitors in through the airport which is also state owned.

I'm not stating any of this as fact, but just thinking out load as to what the issues might be in making CWL successful.
How large is the Cardiff core catchment area? A quick google search would suggest not much larger than 1 million. Appreciate Cardiff is a capital city but I was under the impression some of the outlying areas suffer with relatively poor incomes and generally high levels of unemployment overall and therefore propensity to fly might be lower? BRS has access to a much wider and more prosperous market and Cardiff urban area is part of that wider market, so would make sense from a commercial perspective to grow from BRS.

Just an observation but viable discussion point?

Last edited by pug; 11th Jan 2023 at 12:08.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 11:41
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Originally Posted by marko1 View Post
Maybe the problem is that Wizz does not offer holiday packages but so does Ryanair ?
They did under the name of Wizz Tours. Itt wasn't a long living venture.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 16:45
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It just needs to be stripped back to the basics to get people to think to check Cardiff first over Bristol. It's not secret that sun routes work best from CWL and that has always been the case.
EZY (mainly), FR and Jet2 are the power houses at BRS that attract people over the bridge. They are the main players of Airlines that will generally offer the lowest prices. CWL will never get Easyjet, who are probably the more trusted brand out of the low cost Airlines vs Ryanair and Wizz. Things might've been very different if Wizz produced a stable and reliable program. There was a hell of a lot of fanfare from people about the potential from Wizz from the general public. But Covid hit, then further base delays and changes hit and their performance in disruption handling was abysmal. But I don't think we've seen the last from FR now that they have returned with some offerings.
When you look at what CWL offers:
3x TUI (summer) based aircraft - x1 in Winter
Daily EI to BHD, 2x weekly FR to BFS (New for summer)
Daily FR to DUB for coming summer
2x weekly FAO (year round) and 2x weekly AGP (now full Summer) with FR,
5 flights in total a week from VY to ALC (x3) and AGP (x2) - A huge reduction from previous offerings - possibly down to an end to a 10 year deal and the effect of Wizz - Could a new deal be done?
x6 weekly Loganair to EDI and a varying schedule (currently 2x daily) from KL to AMS.

Although not a huge offering, it's better than some years have been over the past decade.

CWL needs to concentrate on what it knows works.
- A reliable and consistent domestic/Ireland schedule - which seems to be in place for summer.
- Decent frequencies and competitive fares to the main keys routes - ALC, AGP, PMI and FAO - Hopefully FR will pick up some slack from away bases and VY will come back to previous frequencies.
- Building KL/AMS back up to 3x daily flights
- Maybe some away base routes from FR such as Canaries/Cyprus

Once that gets people talking about CWL again, then push for bigger things and new routes.
Over recent years there's been too ambitious offerings that have suffered at the hands of covid and cost of living issues, and every time CWL ends up looking like it's not a viable option.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 20:45
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5 flights in total a week from VY to ALC (x3) and AGP (x2) - A huge reduction from previous offerings - possibly down to an end to a 10 year deal and the effect of Wizz - Could a new deal be done?
10 years - when they've had a pretty clear run? If the demand was there surely routes should be standing on their own two feet and there would have been more expansion by now?
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 21:33
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I am fed up of trying to tell everyone, even if by some miracle, Turkish and Ryanair decided to operate flights from Cardiff Airport in decent numbers . There are many members of the Welsh Government who would actively oppose an increase of operations from the airport .

Infrastructure is shambolic with crazy speed limits on major roads actively damaging any economic growth under the umbrella of climate change .

The fact that they the WG own the airport and us as taxpayers are paying for all fixed and variable expenses yet having 5 flights a day is galling . Sell it , or support it . The green brigade will not stop us going on air journeys , will someone stop this madness.
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Old 11th Jan 2023, 22:21
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Bristol Numbers

In term of passenger traffic about 20% of passengers at BRS come from South Wales. Whilst that represents a sizeable number they are spread thinly. I often hear a Welsh accent on a BRS flight, but those passengers only represent about 10-20% of the plane. These figures aren't going to sustain stand alone services from Cardiff. In terms of attracting BRS passengers over the bridge I'm afraid that's an uphill struggle. It takes me an hour and a quarter/half to get from North Bristol to CWL, especially if there is traffic is on the roads. If the tunnels are jammed it can take two hours. In an hour and 45 mins I can drive in the opposite direction and reach Heathrow. I've even used London City recently, as since the line was electrified I can travel from Bristol Parkway to Paddington in one hour 10 and use Cross Rail to get to LCY in 30 mins.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 05:59
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Wizz Air: Cardiff Airport in wrong place, says ex-airline boss https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-64274221

“Nobody in their right mind would look at investing in the airport as an infrastructure," said Mr Bryon.

"It's not an attractive proposition as an airport for an investor."

To make the airport work, Mr Bryon said it would have to attract customers from England, but its position a 25-minute drive "down a country road to actually get to the airport" once customers left the M4 made it "quite a bind" to get to.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 06:43
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Originally Posted by LTNman View Post
Wizz Air: Cardiff Airport in wrong place, says ex-airline boss https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-64274221
Telling it as it is. I doubt it will go down well though.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 06:45
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Originally Posted by LTNman View Post
Wizz Air: Cardiff Airport in wrong place, says ex-airline boss https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-64274221
Definitely no worse in terms of location from motorway as Bristol is horrendous to access. Instead, itís most likely the population catchment for CWL and already having BRS serving so many routes just across the bridge with every LCC
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 07:18
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Originally Posted by SKOJB View Post
Definitely no worse in terms of location from motorway as Bristol is horrendous to access. Instead, itís most likely the population catchment for CWL and already having BRS serving so many routes just across the bridge with every LCC
Indeed, all very true. So what heís saying in this article is if youíre an airport near the sea you have no hopeÖ



(notably DSA was nowhere near the sea!)
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 15:57
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(notably DSA was nowhere near the sea!)
But Blackpool, Manston, Lydd, Prestwick, Plymouth, Ipswich, Hull, etc are/were.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 16:03
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Originally Posted by LGS6753 View Post
But Blackpool, Manston, Lydd, Prestwick, Plymouth, Ipswich, Hull, etc are/were.
Newcastle is close to the sea, as is Edinburgh 😛
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 16:05
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But both are major regional centres.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 16:27
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Originally Posted by fanrailuk View Post
Indeed, all very true. So what heís saying in this article is if youíre an airport near the sea you have no hopeÖ



(notably DSA was nowhere near the sea!)
I donít think his comments were meant to be taken literally. I think itís unarguable that Cardiff has limited access to a large market when compared to its competitors in Bristol and Birmingham, Bristol also being fairly close to the sea. Doncaster similarly is competing with airports that have larger catchment areas and that are more established (Leeds, East Midlands, Manchester) and the airlines have little inclination to add to their costs for diminishing returns by adding more routes from Doncaster. Far as I can see that is why Cardiff isnít as attractive as itís growth prospects are limited. Why go to the effort of investing loads of money setting up an operation from Cardiff when you know the target audience will just travel from Bristol anyway?
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 17:13
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Originally Posted by LGS6753 View Post
But both are major regional centres.
Yes, it was a bit of a tongue in cheek comment.
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