Cardiff Airport crippled by government inertia

AN executive at Cardiff International Airport has branded the Welsh government “un-businesslike”.
Steve Hodgetts, the airport’s director of business development, said that the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) had been much slower than its Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts in offering short-term financial support for new air routes, known as route development funds (RDFs), to their regional airports.
Mr Hodgetts told MPs on the Welsh Affairs Committee: “The late arrival of the Route Development Fund meant that it came in post changes to the EU rules, when a lot of the benefit and flexibility that Scotland and Northern Ireland had enjoyed had actually dissipated. So that sort of hamstrung the ability of the RDF to work.

Aviation expert Martin Evans, from the University of Glamorgan, told the MPs: “Some of the English regions that have equally poor demographics as Wales have been successful in attracting new airlines and new routes, particularly Newcastle.

“The way Cardiff can try to compete is only if the WAG throws itself wholeheartedly into a partnership with the airport.”

An Assembly Government spokesman said: “Officials are working with Cardiff International Airport to develop a strategy to target both freight and international travel.”
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