Why a successful Cardiff Airport is crucial to Wales

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Business/Cardiff News, Cardiff Breakfast Club, Opinion
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First Minister Carwyn Jones came under fire yesterday for "talking down" Wales' only international airport

How very sad and strange to read in today’s Western Mail that our First Minister made comments in the Senedd yesterday about not wishing to bring visitors to Wales through Cardiff Airport, due to the bad impression it would give.

As AM Eluned Parrott stated last night, it’s “bizarre” that he should make such a statement only a couple of weeks after talking about subsidising flights between Cardiff and China, something I totally applaud.

While I do understand the problem of the Welsh Government (WG) being able to directly help underwrite some of the costs of supporting the airport in its negotiations with Delta Airlines, to create a direct link with New York, ways must be found for the WG to invest in the airport if its Spanish owners will not.

The recent talk of City Region status and bringing back the WDA brand becomes academic in my eyes, as someone who has been involved in marketing for many years. Without an effective international airport; the key ingredient of a sales proposition for selling Cardiff and Wales to the world, everyone’s efforts will be wasted.

Jonathan Ford, CEO of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) inferred as much in his very impressive talk to the Cardiff Breakfast Club this morning. He discussed the need to do more to ensure we attract global football to Wales and his desire to hold major international tournaments here, but stated that we do have infrastructure problems – i.e. the airport, through which visiting football teams and fans would travel.

From sport to education, tourism, business and entertainment, if we had more direct flights to influential destinations we all know what could happen to our economy. Let’s hope the First Minister’s remarks were part of a well thought out strategy to raise debate on this crucial subject; an issue that it is vital we resolve if we are to truly compete on a global stage.

Cardiff Airport: a vital first impression for visitors to Wales

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