Cardiff Airport boss pledges to attract more airlines

Debra Barber

Debra Barber – Managing Director of Cardiff Airport

Debra Barber says she wants to develop ‘sustainable routes’ for airlines

The new managing director of Cardiff Airport says she is determined to reverse the decline in passenger numbers by attracting more airlines.

Debra Barber says she wants to make it the airport of choice over Bristol.

The Welsh government bought Cardiff airport for £52m following concerns about a lack of investment in the facility by the previous owners.

The latest figures show a 7% drop in the number of passengers in the year to September.

Ms Barber, a former RAF group captain who was appointed the airport’s operations director in May 2012, took over as managing director two months ago.

She said: “It’s a tough climate for smaller airports at the moment, the economic situation has had a big impact on the situation and we’ve got to respond to that.


“We’re working really hard with the airlines to get them back in here, to get sustainable routes that we know are going to last and stay the distance.

“It’s all about making sure we offer passengers the best possible experience when they come here so that their choice is to come here rather than go across the bridge into Bristol.”

Ms Barber’s comments come as Dutch carrier KLM announced it is increasing its capacity from Cardiff.

It has said it will be using a bigger plane on its route to the Netherlands, such is Wales’ importance to the company.

The carrier has operated from the airport for 27 years, with Amsterdam Schiphol one of three international hubs from Cardiff, the others being Dublin and Barcelona.

Passengers at Cardiff AirportThe Dutch carrier KLM has announced it is increasing its capacity from Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport saw passenger numbers rise by 9% in the first 10 months of public ownership.

However, while over 1m people travelled from Cardiff in the last year, Bristol had almost 4.5m passengers.

The airport’s former chief executive Jon Horne stood down from the role in September.

Mr Horne was appointed after the airport was bought by the Welsh government in March 2013.

He had been the airport’s managing director previously, between 2001-2007.

TUI Travel votes ‘yes’ to merger

TUI Travel has agreed to go ahead with a merger with its German parent TUI AG at an extraordinary general meeting today.

The group secured more than the 75% of the votes required for the merger to go ahead.

Just under 80% voted ‘yes’ to the merger, but just over 20% were against.

TUI Travel chief executive Peter Long said: “Today’s result is testament to the fact that the overwhelming majority of our shareholders – many of whom have been shareholders in TUI Travel for a long time – believe that this merger will successfully continue to deliver value for them.”

Sir Michael Hodgkinson, deputy chairman and senior independent director, added: “We believe that the rationale for this merger, creating the world’s number one integrated leisure tourism business, is compelling.

“We have secured more than the 75% of the votes required for both the Scheme of Arrangement at the Court Meeting and the Special Resolution at the General Meeting proving the considerable support amongst shareholders. I and my fellow independent directors are delighted that this step in the merger has been successfully completed.”

The results of the TUI AG extraordinary general meeting, also held today, have not yet been announced.

The merger is expected to be completed on December 11.

Sourced by Travelmole

Ryanair’s new Cardiff-Tenerife route takes to the skies!

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 EI-EBS departing to Tenerife from Cardiff AirportRyanair’s new Cardiff-Tenerife route takes to the skies!

Press Release by Cardiff Airport

Ryanair, Europe’s favourite low fares airline, today (30 October) welcomed customers on board its new Cardiff route to/from Tenerife, which will deliver over 15,000 customers p.a. at Cardiff Airport (Ryanair’s 15th UK airport) with a weekly service.

Ryanair celebrated its new Cardiff flights by releasing seats for sale to Tenerife, at prices starting from £29.99 for travel in November and December. These low fare seats are available for booking until midnight Monday (3 November).

Ryanair’s Maria Macken said:

“Ryanair is pleased to welcome customers on board its new route from Cardiff to/from Tenerife. This new weekly service will deliver over 15,000 customers p.a. at Cardiff Airport.

Our new Cardiff to Tenerife route with a weekly service is ideal for families booking their low fare summer holiday getaways. Ryanair customers can also enjoy allocated seating, a free second carry-on bag, reduced fees, a new website, a brand new app with mobile boarding passes, and our great new Family Extra services.

To celebrate our new Cardiff – Tenerife flights we are releasing seats on sale from £29.99 for travel in November & December which are available for booking until midnight Monday (3rd Nov). Since these low amazing prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto to avoid missing out.”

Debra Barber, Managing Director at Cardiff Airport added:

“We’re delighted to extend a warm, Welsh welcome to Ryanair as they launch their new route to Tenerife today. The service provides Welsh passengers with another low cost travel option from Cardiff and as a destination Tenerife is an ideal winter sun escape.

“The launch is an important step in increasing choice for Welsh customers and as such we look forward to continuing to work with Ryanair to develop the service further.”

VLM Airlines to Pioneer Long-Range Sukhoi Superjet in Europe

Press release by VLM

Belgian operator VLM Airlines and Moscow-based aircraft lessor Ilyushin Finance Co. (IFC) have today signed a Letter of Intent that will see the airline become the first European operator of the long-range Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR (SSJ100 LR) regional aircraft.

VLM Airlines has selected the SSJ100 LR to spearhead the company’s launch of regional scheduled services in 2015, with details of its route network to be announced.

Under the terms of the LOI, VLM Airlines will take delivery of two SSJ100 LR aircraft in April 2015 under a 12-year operating lease, with options for two further aircraft. The deal also includes purchase rights for ten aircraft.

Arthur White, CEO of VLM Airlines, says: “While VLM Airlines will continue offering ACMI and charter services with our Fokker 50 fleet, we see an exciting opportunity as a niche scheduled operator. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 LR fits our new strategy perfectly, with its exceptional efficiency and performance, advanced fly-by-wire technologies and spacious cabin.

“We looked at a number of aircraft types in the 100-seat range to see which would give the best passenger experience, flexibility in short-to-medium range destinations and low operating costs – the SSJ100 LR won hands down. It has been great working with IFC and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company and I am looking forward to a mutually profitable long-term relationship.”

Alexander Rubtsov, CEO of IFC, comments: “This is a significant deal for IFC and the Sukhoi SSJ programme, as it represents our first customer in Europe, which we are delighted about. After intense competition and a detailed review, we are extremely pleased that VLM Airlines has chosen to base its future operation on the SSJ100 LR. We believe the aircraft will not only enable VLM Airlines to exceed its growth plans but will also give Europe a live insight into the excellent capabilities and passenger appeal of the Sukhoi SSJ, which represents a truly cost-effective regional aircraft solution.”

The SSJ100, Russia’s first serially manufactured passenger airliner, is a 103-seat regional jet designed and manufactured by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company in partnership with Alenia Aermacchi. The aircraft performed its maiden flight in 2008 and entered into service in 2011. The operating range of the long-range variant joining the VLM Airlines fleet is 2,470nm (4,578km), while the standard aircraft’s operating range is 1,645nm (3,048km). The SSJ100 is powered by two SaM146 turbofan engines manufactured by PowerJet, a joint venture between Snecma and NPO Saturn. There are currently over 40 SSJ100 aircraft being operated successfully around the world and the type is certified by a number of regulatory authorities including EASA.

VLM Airlines bought by management

Press release by VLM Airlines

Truly independent airline will also offer scheduled services

Antwerp (Belgium), 27th October 2014 – Today Intro Aviation, majority shareholder of Romscope, has announced together with VLM Airlines that Romscope has sold VLM Airlines to the management of VLM Airlines with formalities of the transaction to be completed by the first week in November. As a truly independent airline VLM Airlines will continue to offer ACMI & Charter services, but will also be offering scheduled services again in the near future.

VLM Airlines – which started in 1993 with its inaugural Antwerp-London City Airport route – over the years has become one of the most successful airlines in the charter business based at Antwerp International Airport. With its Fokker 50 fleet VLM Airlines focuses on meeting the needs of the European charter market including ACMI / Wet Lease contracts and charter operations for tour operators, travel agents, music & film, special events, incentives, sports teams, government & military, NGO’s and emergency support.

“We received an offer from the management of VLM Airlines that we felt we could not refuse.” said Peter Oncken, Managing Director at Intro Aviation. “We are happy to see VLM now to develop as a wholly independent airline in the ownership of a management which is dedicated to VLM”.

“We strongly believe in VLM Airlines as a truly independent airline,” commented Arthur White, CEO and majority shareholder of VLM Airlines. “As an independent airline we will keep offering ACMI & Charter services, but we will also start offering scheduled services in the near future. We are already studying a number of possible new routes from Antwerp International Airport. We will communicate this as soon as the deals have been concluded.”

VLM Airlines is also seeking to add a new aircraft type to its fleet, for the moment VLM Airlines is evaluating a number of possibilities.

Cardiff Airport and Only Men Aloud surprise passengers at check-in with a song

Press release by Cardiff Airport

Passengers flying from Cardiff Airport on Tuesday 28th October were treated to an exclusive performance of ‘Come Fly With Me’ – arranged as a secret ‘flash mob’ stunt by Cardiff Airport staff with the support of world-famous Welsh vocal group, Only Men Aloud.

Planned over a number of weeks, staff and members of Only Men Aloud have been rehearsing in a secret area out of the sight of passengers, to ensure every step was right and each note was pitch perfect for the special event.

Passengers in Cardiff Airport’s check-in hall first noticed what was happening when ‘staff’ behind the check-in desk burst into song and were then joined by other singers dotted around the area, who all came together to perform a stunning rendition of Frank Sinatra’s classic.

Debra Barber, Managing Director at Cardiff Airport, said: “Only Men Aloud have always been such great supporters of Cardiff Airport, and were only too keen to come up with something special to ‘wow’ our customers. After sharing a number of ideas we agreed that singing together would be an excellent way to achieve this whilst also creating a buzz among the team, and I’m delighted that today’s event did just that!”

Tim Rhys-Evans from Only Men Aloud, added: “It’s been a joy to work with Airport staff at every level. I hope the passengers enjoyed the flash mob as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it. As a regular user of Cardiff Airport, it’s great to see the developments and hopefully this activity has injected an extra bit of fun into what I’m sure can be a busy  environment”.

Customers were encouraged to tweet using #CardiffAloud throughout the performance.

To see the video and pictures of the flash mob performance visit the Cardiff Airport Facebook page or click on the You Tube link

Tribute to Cardiff Heliport’s Catherine McGinn

Press Release by WalesAir Ambulance

Wales Air Ambulance is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Catherine McGinn, Operations Manager at Cardiff Heliport.

Catherine was a great supporter of the charity and exemplary in her role at the capital’s heliport in Cardiff Bay. She will be greatly missed by our paramedics, pilots and the WAA charity team.

Our thoughts are with Catherine’s family at this difficult time.

Catherine’s funeral is 3 November. Her family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Wales Air Ambulance or Velindre Cancer Hospital.


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