Welsh government proposes domestic routes from Cardiff

The Welsh government has unveiled plans to start nine domestic routes from Cardiff airport.

Services to Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Inverness have not been available before.

Other destinations pinpointed include Aberdeen, Humberside and Newquay.

Welsh economy secretary Ken Skates is working with the UK government and European Commission to “impose a number of public service obligations routes”.

These are exempt from Air Passenger Duty and remove £26 from the cost of a return journey.

It would allow airlines to operate exclusively on routes for four years.

Services are expected to start in spring next year if carriers take up the contracts.

The Welsh government expects the lack of APD and a four-year exclusivity to be enough of an incentive to attract airlines.

Other than a “modest marketing budget” there will be no further subsidy for the routes.

However, some of the routes suggested such as Cardiff to London and Norwich have already been tried and abandoned because of disappointing passenger numbers.

Flybe was unable to make flights to London City airport sustainable despite being significantly cheaper than most rail tickets for the journey.

Other such as Cardiff-Glasgow already have a daily return but ministers want to increase that to twice daily.

Cardiff airport chief executive Deb Barber said: “It is good news to see the ambition to develop more air connectivity between Wales and the rest of the UK, which has the potential to create business and UK-wide tourism opportunities and we give this initiative our full support.”

If they prove successful, ministers will consider other destinations including in Europe and other airports in Wales.

Skates said CO2 emissions on the nine proposed routes had been investigated and “were not considered to be materially different” to similar car or train journeys relative to passenger numbers.

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