£10m fund idea for Heathrow routes to Wales

Airlines looking to fly from Wales to Heathrow will reportedly be able to bid for a share of a proposed £10 million route fund.

Welsh government ministers and Heathrow have signed a “strategic partnership” to identify business opportunities from a planned third runway at the London hub.

The Welsh government claims it will create up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and boost the Welsh economy by £6.2 billion.

Under the partnership, Heathrow and the Welsh government agreed to hold a summit on July 5 in Cardiff to help businesses in Wales seek contracts at the airport.

The Welsh government also said that airlines wishing to operate a route from Wales to Heathrow would be eligible to bid for a proposed £10 million Heathrow route development fund.

The fund is due to be available for five domestic routes and is due to start from 2021.

First minister, Carwyn Jones, said the partnership “opens the door to explore a wide range of new opportunities, particularly for our existing supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support infrastructure projects at Heathrow”.

Deb Barber, chief executive of Welsh government-owned Cardiff airport (pictured), said she was keen to explore opportunities with Heathrow after the new runway is operational.

But the Welsh Conservatives said the deal had no “tangible commitments”.

And Plaid Cymru’s transport spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, told the BBC: “Heathrow should be congratulated on having superior negotiating skills to the first minister of Wales.

“The Scottish government secured a commitment from Heathrow to reduce landing charges for all airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland, and a £200 million commitment on construction related spend in Scotland. No such commitments for Wales.”