Jess Fishlock experiences the thrill of being at the controls

JessFishlockPress Release by Cardiff Aviation

International Welsh footballer Jess Fishlock was invited by the BBC to “try something a bit different” for Sport Wales. She took the controls of the 747 simulator, as Captain Paul Jones taught her how to fly a big jet. The whole detail was filmed by the production crew for broadcast next week. Jess has spent a huge number of hours as a passenger in jet aircraft flying all over the world, so she found it fascinating to see what actually happens at the “front end”.

She learnt the basic techniques incredibly quickly, so Paul decided to throw in one of the most challenging manoeuvres a jet pilot can face – an inadvertent thrust reverser deployment on take-off. Jess coped with it extremely well and landed the aircraft. Captain Paul Jones commented afterwards “Her natural flying ability was better than I have seen in some student pilots “. Praise indeed.

The program will be broadcast on BBC2 Wales on Friday the 28th of November at 19.00

Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter to stay in the sky

Fears the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter would be withdrawn from service have been allayed after it was confirmed it will remain patrolling the skies.

The helicopter, which polices Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, will be kept as part of a deal to join the new National Police Air Service (NPAS).

A number of police aircraft will be cut as part of the service.

The force’s helicopter will be managed by NPAS from next year.

Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said the helicopter, which searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles, would remain at its base in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire.

There were concerns that it would shut when plans to cut the number of police aircraft and bases were announced in October 2010.

The NPAS is designed to save £15m a year and the number of police aircraft is expected to be cut from 33 to 25.

They will be centrally managed by the new service.

Mr Salmon said the the new service would be “great news” for communities across the force area.

“This force covers a huge area – more than half of Wales – and policing locations so far apart brings unique challenges.”


Policing the skies

  • The police helicopter helps with searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles and casualty evacuation, transporting specialist teams around Dyfed-Powys’s 4,188 square miles
  • It gathers intelligence including using automatic number plate recognition and video
  • A helicopter takes around 12 minutes to search a square mile at a cost of £160 – an operation that would take 12 police officers 454 hours at a cost of around £4,680
  • In 2014, it helped recover property worth more than £120,000, locating 23 vulnerable and missing people, and transporting seven people with life threatening injuries to hospital
  • It also played a key role, working with neighbourhood police teams, in closing down several drugs factories and supply chains
  • Flying times include from Pembrey to Aberystwyth in 24 minutes; the equivalent road journey of around 64 miles takes around 112 minutes

The Dyfed-Powys Police Authority had opposed plans to remove a dedicated helicopter for the force area and also rejected the idea of a using a cheaper fixed wing aircraft.

The deal, due to take effect next year, will see Dyfed-Powys’s own helicopter replaced by an Airbus EC135 helicopter owned and maintained by the NPAS.

Staff at Pembrey will be cut from nine to seven as the base is transferred to the NPAS.

The Dyfed-Powys Police force area will also be covered by bases at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, Rhuddlan in Denbighshire and Halfpenny Green in Wolverhampton.

The new service will cost the force around £890,000 a year. The existing service cost the force around £1.1m in 2013-14 and is budgeted to cost around £1.2m in 2014-15.

A helicopter shared by south Wales and Gwent police forces, based at St Athan, will transfer to the NPAS on 1 February.

The helicopter for North Wales Police was transferred last January.

Sourced by BBC News Wales

Cardiff Airport used by Welsh Government Ministers only five times out of 80 for trade missions

Cardiff International Airport,Rhoose,South Wales.Labour ministers on official business rarely use Cardiff Airport, which they bought for £52m, figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives confirm.

Some 80 trade missions have been undertaken between May 2011 and November 2014 but just five used Cardiff Airport for ministers and delegates.

Ministers didn’t even fly from Cardiff when they were going to destinations with direct routes from Wales’ state-owned airport like Dusseldorf, Barcelona or Orlando, the material disclosed by Transport Minister Edwina Hart shows.

Cardiff Airport’s map of destinations shows how passengers can fly from Cardiff to more than 100 destinations around the world via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Yet on more than 40 trade missions to cities like Washington DC, Istanbul, Dubai, Mumbai and San Francisco, delegates used Heathrow and other UK airports instead of Cardiff.

Heathrow has been used on 49 separate trade missions, representing two-thirds of all trips.

Manchester and Gatwick Airports were used on five occasions while Birmingham used on seven trade missions.

Shadow Transport Minister Byron Davies said: “Welsh Conservatives disagreed with Labour’s decision to spend £52m buying Cardiff Airport but now it is state-owned Welsh ministers should work to improve it and could start by actually using it themselves.

“Labour ministers are not using the airport they bought, even when flying to cities served by direct flights from Cardiff, but at the same time are encouraging and expecting others to use it.

“One of Cardiff Airport’s biggest selling points is the ability to access 100-plus routes via Schiphol in Amsterdam to cities around the globe but it’s difficult to convincingly market this when Labour ministers find it more convenient to fly from Heathrow.

“Cardiff Airport has the potential to be a massive success as a fast-track gateway from Cardiff to the big financial centres in Europe and the powerhouse economies of the USA, India and China as well as the way for overseas tourists to explore Wales.

“Labour ministers must display confidence in their own airport and work to improve the passenger experience, expand routes and attract new airlines.

“Since Cardiff Airport was nationalised we’ve seen a decline in passenger numbers, a number of airlines pulling out and withdrawing routes while Labour ministers seem to sit on their hands.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We use Cardiff Airport whenever practical – indeed, delegates for the trade mission to Berlin in September and this month to Dubai flew from Cardiff Airport.

“We will also be using Cardiff Airport for several other trade missions in the near future, including another trade mission to Dubai for the Arab health event in January. In assessing practicality we consider the overall travel time and the number of changes as well as the cost.”

A Welsh Government source added that companies in North and Mid Wales often fly from Manchester or Birmingham and meet with the rest of the mission at a connecting airport – usually Amsterdam – or the final destination.

“We have negotiated deals to include those flying from other UK airports as part of our group booking to ensure companies can use their most convenient airport at no extra cost,” said the source.

The five listed occasions when ministers used Cardiff Airport involved trips to Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Dubai (twice) and Berlin.

Sourced by Wales Online

Cardiff Airport to get loan fund of up to £13m to attract new airlines

British Airways Airbus A380A loan fund of up to £13m is to be made available to Cardiff Airport to attract new airlines, BBC Wales understands.

The first £3.5m of the loan, from the Welsh government, will be drawn down by the airport next year.

Welsh ministers have described the loan as the most significant step since they bought the airport 18 months ago.

On Tuesday, First Minister Carwyn Jones said its future lies in long-haul flights, not competing with Bristol on closer destinations.

Because the funding is in the form of a commercial loan the airport will by-pass many of the EU regulations on state aid.

The last time such a fund was made available was in 2006 when £4m was used by the then privately-owned airport.

Cardiff Airport has had mixed fortunes under public ownership.

It was bought by the Welsh government for £52m in March 2013 and has invested about £10m in improvements at the terminal.

A general decline in passenger numbers was halted, although figures for September showed a 7% reduction on the year.

Earlier in November, the German airline Germanwings announced it was ending flights between Cardiff and Dusseldorf in 2015, following on from Cityjet scrapping a service to Glasgow.

But Ryanair has returned to the airport after an eight-year gap with a weekly flight to Tenerife.


Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Wales radio programme, Welsh Conservative assembly leader Andrew RT Davies said looking at the figures, the government had “not done a very good job” since taking over the airport.

“Regrettably, there’s been a year-on-year decline of 7% in passenger figures. We know of a series of airlines that have chosen to pull out… and we know the most senior executive there, the managing director, left very quickly at the end of August,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be much stability there, but what we need to do is make sure an airport works for Wales and the Welsh economy.”

However he added he did welcome the route development fund announcement but said the government had been slow to put it in place.

“For an airport to be successful, you need airlines to use it and you also need those routes to bring people in as well as take people out because obviously the more people you bring in that’s a greater boost to the Welsh economy,” he said.

Line break

Analysis by BBC political editor Nick Servini

One of the huge challenges that we have had all along since the government announced it was going to buy the airport is how to try to challenge this highly successful commercial operation in Bristol airport, which has something like 5m passengers a year.

Cardiff is around the 1m mark.

The route development fund is an attempt to deal with that. We are moving into the second phase now following the decision to put the airport into public ownership.

From a passenger’s perspective, all they want to know about is what kind of routes and what kind of offer there is going to be and there is a big hope this can make a difference.

Sourced by BBC News Wales

Long-haul future for Cardiff Airport, says Carwyn Jones

British Airways Airbus A380

Cardiff Airport’s future lies in long-haul flights, not competing with Bristol on closer destinations, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

He told AMs the airport “will not lose money this year as it did in the previous financial year”.

But Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said there were “substantial negatives” at the airport and “few new routes”.

Last week, German airline Germanwings announced it was ending flights between Cardiff and Dusseldorf in 2015.

The airline said it was because the route did not meet its expectations.

Cardiff Airport was bought by the Welsh government for £52m in 2013 and ministers have set aside £3m to spend on developing routes next year.

At First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd, Mr Jones said: “Bristol Airport has been very successful in short-haul flights and in business flights and it would be very difficult to take Bristol on, if I can put it that way, in that regard.

“However we do have great advantages over Bristol in terms of long-haul flights, in terms of the length of the runway, in terms of the 24-hour operation that we have.”

‘Holy grail’

He said there was potential to widen Cardiff’s runway to accommodate an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane.

“So that’s where the advantages will come for us in the future,” he said.

But he warned that trans-Atlantic routes were not a “holy grail”.

He said the Welsh government wanted private investors to buy shares in the airport and “there is interest” in forming a public-private partnership.

Passenger satisfaction had increased “enormously”, Mr Jones said, adding that Welsh ministers were “very optimistic about the airport’s medium to long-term future”.

A British Airways A380 superjumbo visited the airport for the first time last year, to test its ability to handle an aircraft of its size and prove it could cope in the event of a diversion.

Sourced by BBC News Wales

Axed routes and fewer passengers: Why Cardiff airport needs urgent improvement


Press Release by Welsh Conservatives

Axed routes and falling passenger numbers have been highlighted by Andrew RT Davies as he questioned the First Minister on the future of Cardiff Airport in the Senedd today.

Latest Civil Aviation Authority statistics show a seven per cent decrease in passenger numbers between September 2013 and September this year. That equates to a drop of almost 10 thousand people passing through the terminal.

Last week GermanWings told Welsh media it would not be operating the Dusseldorf-Cardiff route in 2015. The decision followed a similar move by CityJet, which confirmed it would be axing flights from Cardiff to Glasgow last month.

A management restructure also saw the airport’s chief executive depart this summer.

Mr Davies, the Welsh Conservative Leader, asked for an explanation of recent setbacks at the Labour government-owned airport during First Minister’s Questions.

He also called for renewed emphasis on private sector investment at the nationalised airport, similar to that in Scotland, where the government has begun working with the Trump organisation following its purchase of Prestwick Airport for one pound.

In response, Labour’s First Minister said he believes the airport’s future lies in long haul.

Welsh Conservatives published a detailed ‘Blueprint for Cardiff Airport’ last year, setting out a number of ways to expand the airport, sell it back into private hands, and reimburse the taxpayer.

It is available here:

Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM, said:

“Axed routes and falling passenger numbers; recent months have raised serious question marks at the nationalised Cardiff airport.

“If the future lies in long haul, as Labour’s First Minister suggests, we need to see a strategy focused on getting a long haul route – and in particular – a transatlantic flight.

“Given nearly 70 million pounds of public money has now been spent by Labour purchasing and improving the airport, taxpayers deserve to hear how the First Minister intends to deliver on his promises.

“Now the airport lies in Welsh government hands, it is absolutely paramount that success and expansion are achieved.

“Welsh Conservatives are committed to doing just that, before selling the airport back into the private sector and reimbursing the taxpayer.”

Passenger Counts for SmartQ System at Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport, UK

Press Release by Adec Technologies

Cardiff Airport, Wales, UK, welcomes in excess of a million passengers a year, serving scheduled airlines and charter tour operators. The airport has more than 50 direct destinations and more than 800 one-stop destinations worldwide.


At the single-terminal airport, air travellers pass through the gates by scanning their boarding passes. Accurate counts both at the beginning and the end of the security check provide critical data to the queue wait time and enable ICTS’ SmartQ system (boarding pass verification and passenger flow management) to associate passenger volume with flight schedules. This enables the airport operators to schedule staff more efficiently and streamline airport processes overall.


Air travellers scan their boarding passes at the gates to the security queue area. At the same time, Observer One ‘people trackers’ begin tracking each passenger. Passengers are tracked via 18 Observer One units located behind the economy class entrance to the queue area and one unit at the business and first-class entrance to the fast-track queue.

An additional four Observer units count the passengers as they exit the queue area just prior passing through the metal detectors.

All 22 units transmit position information in real-time to a central server that associates the boarding pass IDs with the track IDs to obtain information about the entering and exiting travellers into and out of the security check queue.


This was the first installation of ADEC Observer One units to provide position information to the SmartQ airport management system.

“Despite some constraints, like ceiling height and sensor position, the system has performed well and has enabled our SmartQ System to obtain the necessary information to provide crucial data for airport management,” comments Jason Spencer, SmartQ product manager at ICTS Europe.

“We’ve been very pleased with the technology and the support provided by ADEC Technologies.”


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