Swiss airline Helvetic Airways announced that it will fully suspend its flights from Zurich to Cardiff this summer.
The measure is set to cause a decay of influence to Cardiff airport and is already raising doubts if Cardiff International Airport is fully used to its potential and the necessity of integration with Bristol International Airport.
The carrier Helvetic started this flight route in 2011 but now decided to drop the service due to low demand from customers. It will however maintain the flights to Bristol.
Recently, Cardiff International Airport has already felt other cases of plunging ing customer numbers. The data, as provided by Cardiff Airport administration showed that passenger numbers continued to decline by 14 per cent between 2010 and 2011, compared with an overall increase of 4 per cent in the UK average. It also showed that the figure stood at only 1.2 million passengers in 2011. In addition, the closure of one low-cost British airline BmiBaby in 2011 and the failure to attract more low-cost airlines from other nationalities like Easyjet or Ryanair are believed to be main reasons for the weak running of the airport.
The Welsh Local Government Association referred to this trend as a “self-reinforcing circle whereby low numbers of passengers leads over time to fewer flights which, in turn, reduces the attraction of an airport”.
Steve Hodgetts, Business Development and Commercial Director, explains how the Cardiff Airport plays its role as the Welsh airport: “The importance of Cardiff airport to Wales is widely agreed. It is currently running 12 airlines including the destinations of Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin and serves as a hub and gateway to the world for Wales. ”
In contrast, according to report of National Assembly for Wales Enterprise and Business Committee:“Bristol Airport had 5.8 million passengers in 2011 (making it the fifth largest airport outside south east England) and it currently flies to 103 destinations across 29 countries, including 11 capital cities.”
The Welsh government announced its potential purchase of Cardiff International Airport from a Spanish ownerAbertis group in the end of 2012 and the government is still searching ways to balance the financial problems.
Many fear the fact that there being only one main international airport in Wales may jeopardize the plan of Wales hosting Euro 2020 matches at the Millennium Stadium.
While some withdrawal of airlines, Spanish carrier Vueling has increased its international services to Malaga and Alicante starting from March 23 since the increased school holidays demands.
Spencer Birns, Head of Air Service Development and Commercial Operations at Cardiff Airport commented on this matter, saying: “It’s great to see Welsh passengers using the Vueling flights and those that have travelled with them already are re-booking because of the competitive pricing and quality product.”
The airport expects to have an average of 5 per cent to 8 per cent growth of passenger number during 2013.
Cardiff Airport: http://www.tbicardiffairport.com/