Posts Tagged ‘Cardiff Airport’

This month we were joined by Jon Horne, Chief Executive of Cardiff Airport. Jon returned to Cardiff Airport as Chief Executive in April 2013, having previously been MD between 2001 and 2007. He has over 35 years of experience in the airport industry, including executive positions at Sheffield City Airport, Southampton Airport and London City.

Jon Horne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Airport

Jon Horne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Airport

After a period of decline, Cardiff Airport was acquired for £52m by the Welsh Government in March 2013, with the ambition to restore the airport to its former success. Jon outlined to the club some of his plans to achieve this and ‘get back to the over 2 million passengers a year’ the airport previously had.

When Jon first took up his role, he identified certain key areas which needed immediate improvement. Undertaking the campaign ‘your airport, listening to you,’ Jon discovered that the infrastructure of the airport was something which put off many potential customers. Since then, he has led a large investment to improve many of the airport facilities, including renovation of the check in desks and stairs, installing state of the art equipment, and doubling the size of the departure area.

Jon was keen to emphasis the significant contribution that the airport makes to Wales. As well as providing over 1,600 jobs, connecting Cardiff to the rest of world is vital to Cardiff’s continuing development as it helps to bring tourists and businesses alike to Wales.

Breakfast ClubJon explained that one of the significant difficulties he currently faces is to overcome certain negative perceptions of the airport held by some of the public. He has found that many people do not consider flying from Cardiff because they believe that flights from Cardiff are more expensive than from other UK airports, and because of the lack of flights to international destinations. Jon recognises that bringing more airlines with international destinations to the airport and advertising low priced flights is paramount to changing this opinion and increasing passenger numbers.

Jon believes that the airport has made an important step this week with the announcement that from October, Ryanair will start weekly flights to Tenerife from Cardiff. This development will not only bring passengers to the airport, but it gives confidence to other airlines to bring their business to Cardiff. Jon hopes to build on this in the future and is positive that the airport has a bright and successful future ahead.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 25th June with guest speaker Professor Chris McGuigan of the Life Sciences Hub. For further information and booking details, please contact or phone 02920 549597. 

Jon Horne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Airport

Jon Horne, Chief Executive, Cardiff Airport

Pleased to read about the increase in usage at our local airport. Well done to Jon Horne and his team!

It proves that once carriers are persuaded to come to Cardiff and offer flights which the public want, passenger numbers will increase. Let us hope that with further support from the Welsh Government, long haul flights could become a reality – a must if we are to be taken seriously as an international destination.

220px-Cardiff_Airport_(Oct_2010)Very pleased to read in today’s Western Mail that passenger numbers are up year on year at Cardiff Airport.  After years of numbers declining this is very positive news as Chief Executive Jon Home acknowledges.

It is common sense to see what is happening, in that if you give passengers more choice of flight destinations they will support the airport. It’s also exciting to think that Vueling may increase its flights from Cardiff as the owner of the airline International Airlines Group Chief Executive Willie Walsh has stated that he wants Vueling to compete with Easyjet and RyanAir.

This news, together with the submission by the Welsh Gateway Group for Cardiff Airport to become a ‘hub’ to Heathrow which is mentioned again in today’s Mail by Martin Evans, gives me hope that the future of Cardiff Airport may be a lot brighter than 12 months ago when the very future of the airport was in doubt.

It is vital for the future of Cardiff and its region to have a fully connected airport on its doorstep.  Let’s hope today’s news is not just a flash in the pan!

Keeping Wales open for business: reports this week of an M4 relief road have caused much debate.

Keeping Wales open for business: reports this week of an M4 relief road have caused much debate.

I am no politician, and the cynics among us may see yesterday’s announcement of the Treasury’s backing of a M4 relief road as another pre-election tactic. However, it has major consequences for the future growth of Wales.

Unless we, the business community, not just the politicians, produce a comprehensive plan to improve our transport infrastructure we can never expect to satisfy existing business transport needs, let alone attract inward investment into our area.

It is wonderful news that Cardiff Airport is now under our ownership, and the recent announcements on a possible Metro system for South East Wales together with the electrification of the main line to Swansea all point in the right direction, but I fear that a joined up transport plan does not yet exist.

We must put more freight and passengers on to our existing rail network and encourage more use of rail for work, business and pleasure. There are numerous disused rail lines and stations which could be reopened to take the pressure off of heavily congested roads.

The predicted 3% increase in congestion on UK roads by 2025 is said to be likely to cost the Welsh economy around £1.1 billion a year in lost business and productivity.

Finally, while I do support the idea of a M4 relief road I do fear that it could take too long. Perhaps the cheaper option of upgrading the A48 as preferred by Professor Stuart Cole of the University of Wales Transport Research Centre is the one we should adopt, in order to give some valuable breathing space and keep Wales open for business.

I feel at last that there is a real impetus being directed at our transport infrastructure in the City Region. The recently published and long-awaited preferred strategy for the Local Development Plan for Cardiff referred to the vital importance of improving road, rail and air transport to, from and within the City Region. We now have the last crucial part of the jigsaw being considered: the airport.

As Sion Barry states in today’s Western Mail Business section, the Western Gateway project chaired by entrepreneur Rudi Plaut (whom I know well and whose experience is considerable) recently submitted plans to the Department of Transport for the development of the Cardiff Airport as a Hub.

It seems to me that we should really support what is a low-cost option for the Airport’s future. With the improved rail links already planned between South Wales and Heathrow, and the electrification scheme, for as Sion states a “modest” £280 million investment in a new terminal and expanded runway Cardiff could increase its current passenger numbers of 1 million to equal Bristol’s 5.7 million!

This “modest” sum could be raised by Welsh Government, and commitment from Airport owners Abertis. With other local rail/road links in the region being planned Cardiff can become a significant Hub airport for the UK.

The numbers as Sion mentions are really exciting. Every year 1.7 million passengers living in South Wales fly out of London airports. 738,000 take flights from Bristol and 112,000 from Birmingham. Indeed, living close to the M4 I feel very frustrated when I travel by air that once on the motorway I turn left to Bristol, and not right to Rhoose!

The Silk report  recommending the devolution of air passenger duty to the Welsh Government will be published this week, and a submission to the Davies Commission set up by the Prime Minister to consider provision of greater airport capacity is also due soon. The timing is right for everyone involved to seize this opportunity and make our airport a key part of the City Region transport offer to citizens, visitors, airlines and inward investors.

Timing is everything in life. Let’s hope our masters realise this and support strongly the promotion of Cardiff Airport as a Hub airport for the UK.

First Minister Carwyn Jones calls to ‘rebrand and refresh’ Cardiff Airport

Having returned from a week’s relaxing holiday in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries Spain, whose citizens are really finding their economic situation dire, I was really pleased to read in today’s Western Mail of our First Minister’s statement yesterday.

He acknowledged the need to attract foreign investment and grow trade if Wales is to succeed on the world stage.  As a long-term supporter of our local airport, I was particularly pleased to hear of the plan to ‘rebrand and refresh’ Cardiff Airport in a bid to attract more passengers.   Perhaps this initiative may excite the Airport’s Spanish owner to come up with some additional funds to support any Public Sector initiative by our Welsh Government.

I am afraid I used Bristol Airport last week even though I had to get up at 2:30am to catch the early flight to Malaga.  So I would welcome a direct flight from Cardiff to Malaga for a few extra hours in bed before my next trip to refresh my body and soul at my favourite yoga retreat.

At last our First Minister Carwyn Jones has taken the initiative on a vital part of the region’s infrastructure – our airport.

Come fly with us: Carwyn Jones stated he believes Cardiff Airport can surpass Bristol, its closest rival.

I read in the Western Mail yesterday of his desire to form a stakeholder group of interested parties to look at the future of Cardiff Airport, which he believes does have the potential to overtake its nearest rival, Bristol.

Without a truly international airport in Cardiff, those attempting to bring new inward investment and more tourism to Wales are really up against it.

Lets up that Carwyn’s group meets quickly and develops a strategy which can deliver real results. Well done, Carwyn, and good luck!

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

Once again the issue of a direct link from Cardiff to New York is raised in the Western Mail today by Ciaran Jones.

As a great supporter of the Cardiff City Region concept (see our earlier blog post!), and an occasional visitor to the world’s most exciting city, such a link is essential if we are to be a true player on the international stage.

Please reopen this debate and give Cardiff Airport management and its director, Patrick Duffy, the financial support it needs to make it happen.

New York, New York!

By Rob Petersen, Managing Director

I fully support Sion Barry’s comments on Cardiff Airport in his Friday File piece today in the Western Mail.

As someone who has both travelled from the airport on many occasions and helped with numerous marketing and public consultation projects over many years, I do sympathise with Patrick Duffy and his team.

The airport must have real support from its stakeholders if it is to breakthrough and become a real transport hub for South Wales which is so necessary if we are to be a true International City Region.

The Welsh Government must find a way to prioritise funding support for the Airport to develop links with International Carriers such as Delta.

Every business in this world needs investment to grow and the Welsh Government must take the initiative and put money on the table. When it does, I am convinced the Airport can truly deliver for everyone’s benefit!