Cardiff Airport sees drop in passengers of 18.5% in November – but bosses insist it’s in a ‘strong position’

Cardiff AirportBy Martin Shipton
The number of passengers using the airport in November was down to 48,855, in contrast to the rise of 2.7% to 374,097 at Bristol Airport

Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport saw an 18.5% dip in passenger numbers in November compared to the same month in 2013, official figures from the Civil Aviation Authority have revealed.

The number of passengers using the airport in November was down to 48,855, in contrast to the rise of 2.7% to 374,097 at Bristol Airport, Cardiff’s nearest rival.

Part of the decline in numbers at Cardiff can be accounted for by CityJet’s decision to drop its three daily return flights to Glasgow. In November 2013 the Glasgow connection carried 4,342 passengers.

Passenger figures on the route to Edinburgh were also down 43% from 6,281 in November 2013 to 3,614 in November 2014.

The number of passengers flying between Cardiff and Paris went down from 2,787 in November 2013 to 1,566 in November 2014, but there was an encouraging rise in use of the Amsterdam route from 10,051 passengers to 10,505, most of whom used the KLM service as a gateway to onward international flights.

Nevertheless, the 18.5% overall drop in passenger numbers will not please the Welsh Government, which bought the airport in March 2013 for £52m and promised to increase destinations and passenger numbers.

Bristol Airport and Cardiff Airport's year-on-year passenger performance for November 2014
Bristol Airport and Cardiff Airport’s year-on-year passenger performance for November 2014

In a statement Cardiff Airport insisted that overall November had seen good results from airlines including Thomson, KLM, Flybe and Eastern Airways in terms of passenger numbers and load factors which had increased compared to the same period last year.

October saw the first Ryanair flight operate from Cardiff to Tenerife with strong load factors over the first month of operations.

The statement said that while November’s passenger numbers were down from November 2013, this was expected and was a result of seasonal adjustments by “airline partners”.

Spanish low cost carrier Vueling was also said to have had a good month with passengers taking advantage of routes to Alicante, Malaga and Barcelona.

CityJet flights to Edinburgh and Paris were said to have performed well for both business and leisure passengers, and Cardiff Airport had been pleased to announce, with KLM, increased capacity on the early morning Amsterdam service to connect Wales to North America, the Middle East, Asia and beyond.

During December Flybe has begun operating flights to Geneva for the ski season, Thomson has increased capacity to Malaga and P&O will be operating additional Caribbean cruise flights.

Debra Barber, the airport’s managing director, said: “We were expecting these passenger numbers. It has been caused by airline reorganisations and fleet changes which are frequent occurrences in the industry.

“These winter months will continue to be difficult. We have, however, been pleased with the overall performance of the airlines that operate from Cardiff, and have seen positive results in terms of overall load factors.

“The recent announcement of the Welsh Government loan for route development has placed us in a strong position to develop our route network and help our existing airlines to grow their business in Wales.”

During December Thomson Airways, part of the UK’s largest holiday company TUI UK & Ireland, announced it will be launching its first Dreamliner flights from Cardiff Airport in 2015, making it the first time the revolutionary aircraft has operated commercial flights from Wales.

Also, Thomas Cook Airlines announced it will operate a one-off flight to Orlando on its long haul Airbus A330 fleet next summer as well as a further flight in 2016.

Sourced by Wales Online

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