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Old 31st Jan 2024, 22:45
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Originally Posted by Sean North
So who do you blame for the economy of Bristol and the surrounding areas growing and attracting businesses, and then the South Wales economy that does neither?
I have done some work on this because there is now a problem attracting passengers from Wales, who now prefer Bristol, to return to Cardiff but to do it through fair competition rather than subsidies to a publicly owned airport that Bristol rightly sees as unfair.
Incomes in Cardiff city and suburbs are sufficient for a high propensity to fly but the population isnít that big.
The population of the Cardiff hinterland have low incomes and a low propensity to fly due to economic scarring. The old heavy industries had a short period of prosperity but were well past their best when Thatcher withdrew support.
What came next was an attempt to attract subsidy tarts, companies that moved around the world to attract the best subsidies but didnít have much of their research and development here and could always be attracted away to the next good deal.
Money was spent on roads to support those industries either in decline or didnít exist any more. A good public transport system that could have transported workers from areas in decline to good jobs elsewhere wasnít developed until now. Much of the mistakes were made by the UK Government and not by the Welsh Government which had to deal with a poor model of devolution.
The answer to bring it back to Cardiff Airport is to raise the propensity to fly in the Cardiff hinterland and in the cities of Swansea and Newport, although any rising incomes in Newport is going to benefit Bristol equally with Cardiff.
To do this will take a radical overhaul of the support system for growing companies in Wales, providing premises, a trained workforce and cheap easy finance. If that sounds like the Wales Development Agency, that would probably be correct. It was abolished because politicians couldnít control it but control by politicians is the last thing it needs.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 09:52
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Originally Posted by runway30
I have done some work on this because there is now a problem attracting passengers from Wales, who now prefer Bristol, to return to Cardiff but to do it through fair competition rather than subsidies to a publicly owned airport that Bristol rightly sees as unfair.
Incomes in Cardiff city and suburbs are sufficient for a high propensity to fly but the population isnít that big.
The population of the Cardiff hinterland have low incomes and a low propensity to fly due to economic scarring. The old heavy industries had a short period of prosperity but were well past their best when Thatcher withdrew support.
What came next was an attempt to attract subsidy tarts, companies that moved around the world to attract the best subsidies but didnít have much of their research and development here and could always be attracted away to the next good deal.
Money was spent on roads to support those industries either in decline or didnít exist any more. A good public transport system that could have transported workers from areas in decline to good jobs elsewhere wasnít developed until now. Much of the mistakes were made by the UK Government and not by the Welsh Government which had to deal with a poor model of devolution.
The answer to bring it back to Cardiff Airport is to raise the propensity to fly in the Cardiff hinterland and in the cities of Swansea and Newport, although any rising incomes in Newport is going to benefit Bristol equally with Cardiff.
To do this will take a radical overhaul of the support system for growing companies in Wales, providing premises, a trained workforce and cheap easy finance. If that sounds like the Wales Development Agency, that would probably be correct. It was abolished because politicians couldnít control it but control by politicians is the last thing it needs.
Whoo would pay for that and why South Wales? Not too save the airport surely?
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 10:28
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Originally Posted by vectisman
What all of you ranting above seem to forget is that airlines will maintain services from an airport if it is financially viable to do so. Clearly airlines have decided that there is more money to be made elsewhere. Changing the management and stamping your feet will not change this simple truth.
In the summer leisure travel makes money for some operators less so in the winter. Domestic flying from most smaller airports is at best marginally profitable and at Cardiff less so.
You can all have wish lists as long as your arms and look for scapegoats, but that will not change the economic reality.
This 100% the truth.

Its tiresome reading various politicians and local authority executives championing the cause of under performing or failed regional airports as untapped sources of economic growth and stability. Airports are a reflection of the region they serve, they facilitate. They are not wider regional economic generators themselves until they have a critical mass (MAN, LHR etc), and itís actually annoying to see justification for spending £millions of public money on such projects when the commercial realities are that they are unsustainable if following the same growth principles of the major players. They do have a future in connections to hubs (AMS, DUB), with some complimentary leisure destinations as far as the catchment areas can support, so long as they have mechanisms in place to cover their costs, or at least only rely on small public subsidies to allow them to continue to exist. Just donít expect them to be able to compete on a level playing field with the ones nearby that have access to much larger catchment areas with more wealth within them.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 10:33
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Originally Posted by GROUNDHOG
Whoo would pay for that and why South Wales? Not too save the airport surely?
Good to hear from you Groundhog, I hope you are well.

The airport is the symptom not the illness. Raising incomes in South Wales would be to the benefit of the population, it is not something you would do just to save the airport.

There is already a Business Support budget that is spent by the Welsh Government, I am just saying that it isnít effective in its current form. We have the Development Bank for Wales, we donít yet know the effectiveness of that over the long term.

If we were being really radical we would have a Severnside Economic Zone which would straddle the political border with two successful airports. It was my thinking when I called for tolls to be removed from the Severn Bridges. However the politics of cross border co-operation seem just too difficult.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 11:18
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It's an interesting one. On the one side there's some truth in that the airports reflect the economic wealth of the areas they serve, but that isn't entirely the case. There is a valued need for public money to support crucial connectivity in some regions, like the NQY-LON PSO route for instance, but not an entire airport operation beyond anything short to medium term where it doesn't add significant economic benefit.

That's largely why an airport like Doncaster Sheffield reached the end of the road because it offered no critical, wider economic purpose to justify throwing public money at it when other nearby airports at EMA, LBA and MAN can easily serve that demand.

Cardiff I feel is a little different as it does serve some important hub links that are crucial economic drivers, and there is, I believe, a large enough propensity to fly among it's catchment area to support a sustainable long term future, returned to the private sector. The issue unfortunately is you have public ownership come in to protect the airport from closure, but you then don't have the expertise, nor the funds, of a private investor to drive that sustainable growth of the airport through competitive and meaningful growth incentives. It's never going to be a big airport, but unfortunately CWL is stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment and that may only change once the wider economic picture picks up so that a private investor can unlock the potential that's there.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 16:55
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Interesting observations?.however where does Teesside airport fit into the mix..when huge,massive amounts of tax payers money is being thrown at it?
Is it because the pm and local lord live next door to each other?
Or maybe we are all missing something else!

To me a capital city …deserves a little stay of execution ?
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 17:40
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There is something in the model of Teesside, Norwich etc - the business park with a runway in the middle. It's not all about passenger flights, and Cardiff already has the BA presence.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 22:44
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I'm not convinced by the propensity to fly argument for the reason CWL is failing. Pre-covid in 2019 CWL had 1.63 million passengers which was continually creeping up from the 1m passengers in 2014. 2019 was up 4.3 percent than 2018.

This is quite an interesting document created in 2020 by the Welsh Government, covering pre-covid numbers.

https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/...t-2019-397.pdf

According to BRS masterplan created in 2017 20% of BRS passengers travel from South Wales of it's then 8m yearly passengers. That's around 1.6m passengers.
Currently BRS is nearing 10m passengers and if the 20% still stands that 2m Welsh people using BRS, if not more since Covid and CWL's decline.

The key for CWL is to win back those passengers from BRS, firstly starting with routes currently served from both Airports, then target new routes once momentum builds. And that is just when looking at BRS. There's still plenty of people from South Wales flying from Birmingham, Manchester and London that can be won back.
What CWL needs to the core scheduled routes to be at decent prices and good times to create that initial attraction to look at CWL when booking flights.
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 23:00
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Originally Posted by caaardiff
I'm not convinced by the propensity to fly argument for the reason CWL is failing. Pre-covid in 2019 CWL had 1.63 million passengers which was continually creeping up from the 1m passengers in 2014. 2019 was up 4.3 percent than 2018.

This is quite an interesting document created in 2020 by the Welsh Government, covering pre-covid numbers.

https://www.gov.wales/sites/default/...t-2019-397.pdf

According to BRS masterplan created in 2017 20% of BRS passengers travel from South Wales of it's then 8m yearly passengers. That's around 1.6m passengers.
Currently BRS is nearing 10m passengers and if the 20% still stands that 2m Welsh people using BRS, if not more since Covid and CWL's decline.

The key for CWL is to win back those passengers from BRS, firstly starting with routes currently served from both Airports, then target new routes once momentum builds. And that is just when looking at BRS. There's still plenty of people from South Wales flying from Birmingham, Manchester and London that can be won back.
What CWL needs to the core scheduled routes to be at decent prices and good times to create that initial attraction to look at CWL when booking flights.
This was what I was trying to get at in my last post, there might be 2mppa from South Wales using BRS, but there are 8mppa using BRS from other areas. So if you were an airline (and letís face it, there arenít many to choose from these days) where would you put your expensive assets and invest in a base?

CWL has its place, but why does that place have to be an airport flying millions of passengers to Tenerife and the Costas? Can it not build on what itís already successful at and actually pay its own way without the public having to invest large amounts in facilities and subsidies that come to nothing?
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Old 1st Feb 2024, 23:55
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Originally Posted by pug
This was what I was trying to get at in my last post, there might be 2mppa from South Wales using BRS, but there are 8mppa using BRS from other areas. So if you were an airline (and letís face it, there arenít many to choose from these days) where would you put your expensive assets and invest in a base?

CWL has its place, but why does that place have to be an airport flying millions of passengers to Tenerife and the Costas? Can it not build on what itís already successful at and actually pay its own way without the public having to invest large amounts in facilities and subsidies that come to nothing?
There in lies the issue. There are only a certain number of airlines left that could base at CWL without diluting their own operation at BRS. Wizz was one of those candidates but completely messed that up.
For whatever reason FR, despite some level of expansion have not attempted to be bigger than they could be in competition with EZY. The one way they could compete with EZY is to dilute some of those passengers to CWL on the core popular routes, but that may dilute their own passengers.
The costas and Canaries is ultimately where people in South Wales want to go. They are tried and tested routes that should work. Attract those passengers back then it will peak peoples interest in using CWL more and in turn peak Airlines interest to offer more.
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 17:56
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Originally Posted by pug
CWL has its place, but why does that place have to be an airport flying millions of passengers to Tenerife and the Costas? Can it not build on what itís already successful at and actually pay its own way without the public having to invest large amounts in facilities and subsidies that come to nothing?
Airports are labour-intensive operations and the aviation sector has decent salaries. Transporting millions of passengers to Tenerife and the Costas requires more workers than exclusively being a Broughton. Thousands of high paying job in South Wales is obviously a good thing and will support the poorer valley regions. By all means do both but don't dismiss the passenger side
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 18:45
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Originally Posted by Sean North
Airports are labour-intensive operations and the aviation sector has decent salaries. Transporting millions of passengers to Tenerife and the Costas requires more workers than exclusively being a Broughton. Thousands of high paying job in South Wales is obviously a good thing and will support the poorer valley regions. By all means do both but don't dismiss the passenger side

Im not sure what you mean, my point was that airlines arenít particularly interested in serving CWL in any big way, mainly because theyíre happy to consolidate their operations at BRS. So they shouldnít be mindlessly pumping money into something thatís unlikely to be a success. By all means support the activity thatís already there, double down on KLM etc and the bucket and spade flights that do exist, but itís not going to ever be a large airport for the reason I already outlined.
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Old 4th Feb 2024, 21:31
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I wonder if the best hope Cardiff has is APD being devolved to the Welsh Parliament as it is for the Scottish and Northern Irish ones.

Until then, I'm not sure what else can change quickly enough to warrant much change in terms of new airlines etc.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 07:38
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Originally Posted by cavokblues
I wonder if the best hope Cardiff has is APD being devolved to the Welsh Parliament as it is for the Scottish and Northern Irish ones.

Until then, I'm not sure what else can change quickly enough to warrant much change in terms of new airlines etc.
I don't think knocking a couple of quid off a holiday flight will make a huge difference, as there's also no guarantee the airline will take it off the fare.

A change of management is needed. From the outside it appears there's no drive or ambition to attract passengers back. I've no doubt CWL are working hard in the background to get airlines in, but there appears to be little evidence of strategic advertising and marketing ploys to get CWLs current routes noticed and fill the current flights.
It's almost as if CWL believe they got the airlines in, now it's up to the airlines to get the passengers through the door. It's in CWLs own interests to market flights as well.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 08:35
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Originally Posted by SWBKCB
There is something in the model of Teesside, Norwich etc - the business park with a runway in the middle. It's not all about passenger flights, and Cardiff already has the BA presence.
One thing Norwich has in common with Cardiff is certainly Ryanair and some silly flight times But yes Norwich has Saxonair, East Anglia Air Ambulance Building, KLM Engineering, Air Livery and the proposal for an aviation business park to be built on the North side of the airport, and the oil and gas sector but of course that won't last forever, hence diversifying with all these other activities. Norwich is never going to be big in terms of pax numbers and with the arrival of Ryanair with their bucket and spade flights, along with TUI, Blue Islands, KLM and Loganair it's found its niche.

Obviously this thread isn't about Norwich but my point is perhaps Cardiff is at a niche for itself and may only ever have these bucket and spade flights as its main source of pax flights. And it needs to diversify into other aviation related business. Of course they have BA but perhaps they should look to other things to expand its activity.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 12:22
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Genuine question. Apologies if it has already been mentioned. Doss the airport lose money each year or is it making a profit?
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 13:09
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Originally Posted by ZULUBOY
Genuine question. Apologies if it has already been mentioned. Doss the airport lose money each year or is it making a profit?
I don't think it's made a profit in over 10 years. Up to around 2019 I think various Welsh government scrutiny meetings that were broadcast brought a lot of facts and projections out. Projections that on it's current path then they would return to profit I think around this year or next year. But then covid threw any of those plan out of the window.
It's a been a constant rollercoaster for the past 15 years with various ups and downs from it's peak in 2007/2008.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 14:46
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Thanks
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 16:36
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Originally Posted by pug
Im not sure what you mean, my point was that airlines aren’t particularly interested in serving CWL in any big way, mainly because they’re happy to consolidate their operations at BRS. So they shouldn’t be mindlessly pumping money into something that’s unlikely to be a success. By all means support the activity that’s already there, double down on KLM etc and the bucket and spade flights that do exist, but it’s not going to ever be a large airport for the reason I already outlined.
My point is Cardiff shouldn't focus specifically on a niche and be satisfied with that.

By no means should Cardiff try to become the next Bristol or Heathrow but there is room for over 2m annual passengers. The leakage - one thing that is seldomly mentioned in the obsessive propensity to fly debate - is over 2.5 passengers from South Wales. 2m passengers from Bristol start in South Wales and in 2010 there were 500k passengers using London airports for popular short haul routes. I certainly believe with the support and drive, 2m annual passengers is not far-fetched.

On top of that 2m passengers, there is room for expanded engineering facilities. BA is there but even BA is cutting back aircraft serviced there. More Welsh Govt support for aerospace engineering in Wales would be helpful. Cargo and other industries centred around the airport can also be expanded, for example, an aircraft paining operation could be set up

With a bigger aviation industry will come higher paying jobs... and more jobs overall. That is obviously a good thing.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Sean North
My point is Cardiff shouldn't focus specifically on a niche and be satisfied with that.

By no means should Cardiff try to become the next Bristol or Heathrow but there is room for over 2m annual passengers. The leakage - one thing that is seldomly mentioned in the obsessive propensity to fly debate - is over 2.5 passengers from South Wales. 2m passengers from Bristol start in South Wales and in 2010 there were 500k passengers using London airports for popular short haul routes. I certainly believe with the support and drive, 2m annual passengers is not far-fetched.

On top of that 2m passengers, there is room for expanded engineering facilities. BA is there but even BA is cutting back aircraft serviced there. More Welsh Govt support for aerospace engineering in Wales would be helpful. Cargo and other industries centred around the airport can also be expanded, for example, an aircraft paining operation could be set up

With a bigger aviation industry will come higher paying jobs... and more jobs overall. That is obviously a good thing.
If the airlines arenít interested your efforts are wasted! Thats the whole point in trying to make. Same applies to MRO facilities, you state that BA are reducing use of their own facility there, I donít know whether that is the case or not, but it would appear there is no appetite for it. That is why CWL must double down on what it does well so it can survive and possibly look to grow in future should operating conditions permit.

I think this point is lost on some, but there are far less airlines in operation in the U.K. now than there were 20 years ago. Since the financial crash of 2007/08 it has been consolidation all the way. The smaller airports have lost out to this with a growing focus of centralising assets on one larger regional airport.

If those 2.5 million passengers are flying from other airports, and 2 million of those are flying from BRS (as suggested further up the page), then that would suggest as a crude estimate that 20% of the passengers on a given flight from BRS are from the South Wales region. Why would they duplicate this at Cardiff and split their loads and decimate their yields whilst doubling their costs over night?

Bmibaby did ok but they were wrapped up a long time ago, same again for Flybe and same happened there. Wizzair UK didnít stick around that long. Itís all telling, meanwhile easyjet, Ryanair and Jet2 keep building their presence at BRS.
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