Cardiff Airport growth continues!

Passenger numbers at Cardiff Airport have consistently risen resulting in the 14th consecutive month of growth in July. The Cardiff Airport officials claim that since June, passenger numbers have grown 17% to 1,326,923 – which in turn is a 29% growth over the previous 12 months since July. Cardiff Airport growth has lead officials to predict that 250,000 people to fly to and from the airport over the 6 week summer period. The success of the Welsh football team over the 2016 Euros amplified the growth too, as July saw tens of thousands fans flood to France to support their team!


Incredibly, the airport could see an even bigger increase in passenger numbers in September and October thanks to work on Severn Tunnel railway which will cause major disruption to commuters. As an immediate response and a chance to capitalise on the larger number of passengers expected, Flybe announced the beginning of four “rescue flights” on weekdays between Cardiff and London City airport.
Fresh Business who conducted a short poll found that 48% of small business owners would consider flying as an alternative option to long train journeys or driving!

Cardiff Airport growth

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Uber arrives in Cardiff and you can get £15 off your ride!

Uber, the internationally recognised online transportation company, launched their service in Cardiff on the 22nd of April. In celebration of the Cardiff Airport Guide becoming mobile friendly, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to form a partnership with Uber that gives our website visitors a free Uber ride up to £15! Feel free to use the offer for either an airport run or just a ride into Cardiff!*

First ride free with Uber!

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New route announced from Cardiff Airport to Berlin by Flybe

If you like to book your winter breaks nice and early, you may be interested to know that as of November 2nd, Flybe has announced a new route from Cardiff Airport to Berlin. The flights which will be directed to Berlin Tegel (TXL) will be flying on Wednesdays and Saturdays (twice a week) from November 2nd and the Fares will be as cheap as £34.99 one way. These new flights are part of a new range of routes created by Flybe which will also include 11 flights per week from Cardiff to Glasgow.

Managing Director of Cardiff Airport, Debra Barber said: Flybe’s two aircraft base is fast approaching its first anniversary at Cardiff Airport, and during this time we have seen the network go from strength to strength"It is fantastic to see the airline responding to the demands of the Welsh market by adding additional capacity and another new route to its network."We look forward to another successful winter season and continued success for Flybe at Cardiff Airport.”

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer said: “Many of our customers have told us they want to plan ahead in order to take advantage of the lowest possible fares so we have ensured that this year we have put the majority of our 2016-17 winter programme on sale extra early.

Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart said: “The addition of this new Flybe route to Berlin is great news for Welsh passengers and the tourism industry and a sign of growing confidence in Cardiff Airport."Following the recent increase in passenger numbers this is another positive step in the continuing development of the Airport.”

Want to keep up to date with all of the Cardiff Airport information? Follow @Airport_Guides on Twitter and on Facebook for all the news you need to see.

Getting to the Millennium Stadium from Cardiff Airport for the Rugby World Cup 2015

Perhaps not the oldest rugby venue, the Millennium Stadium is however one that has fast secured its place within the sport. Located centrally in the Welsh city of Cardiff, it also has a fully retractable roof to defend the game from the unpredictability of the English weather!

The upcoming fixtures at the Millennium Stadium are:

19th September – Ireland v Canada 20th September – Wales v Uruguay 23rd September – Australia v Fiji1st October – Wales v Fiji2nd October – New Zealand v Georgia 11th October – France v Ireland

Getting to the Millennium Stadium from Cardiff Airport

Address: Westgate St, Cardiff, CF10 1NS

Cardiff International Airport serves over 50 direct routes and handles over a million passengers every year, and it is very conveniently located for the Millennium Stadium.

If you are heading to the UK to support your team at one of the fixtures at the Stadium, you will be pleased to know that you can fly direct from several locations. It takes just over an hour to fly direct from Dublin to Cardiff Airport, so in no time at all you can be in your seat, waiting for the game to start. You can also arrive in very little time on a direct flight from Paris!

Once you arrive at the airport, you have several choices on how to proceed:

TrainThe Stadium is only a 5 minute walk from Cardiff Central Train Station, which is pretty convenient if you don’t want to drive. The Airport run regular shuttle buses from the Airport to the train station (Cardiff Airport Rhoose Station) for £1. From there you can catch a train to Cardiff Central which should take around half an hour.

BusCardiff Airport Express Bus runs from the Airport to the centre of Cardiff every 20 minutes. During the works at the Cardiff Central Station the bus stops behind the station on Penarth Road/Saunders Road. It costs from £5. Look out for T9!

DriveIf you are getting picked up at the airport or are grabbing a rental car, driving to the Stadium is easy. It should take around half an hour, but do be aware that on match days there will be much more congestion, so leave ample time to get there!

TaxiA taxi should cost you around £30, however this will often depend on how long it takes to get into Cardiff. The journey will take around 30 – 40 minutes, but do check in advance for timings and demand may vary due to congestion on match days.

HotelsArriving at the airport the day before the match? There are several hotels nearby that are affordable for your night away! Check out our list here, with useful information about each one.

Helvetic quits Cardiff Airport

The Swiss airline Helvetic recently announced that it was ceasing all of its operations at Cardiff Airport. The airline’s decision is a blow to the Welsh government, which spent half a million pounds promoting Wales as a tourist destination in Switzerland a couple of years ago.

Helvetic flights first started heading to and from Cardiff Airport in 2011, but it soon became apparent that demand was low. As a result, the airline began to stop off at Bristol Airport on the way to Switzerland, and after a while it cut Cardiff out of its winter schedule completely. The latest move will see it stop running flights from Cardiff during the summer schedule as well.

The decision presents a real challenge for the Welsh government, which is currently planning to buy Cardiff Airport from its Spanish owners, the Abertis Group. Helvetic’s cancellation of its operations at Cardiff is the latest disappointment that the airport has experienced over the last few years, falling a dramatic fall in passenger numbers. In 2007, passenger numbers at Cardiff peaked at two million, but now they have fallen to half that amount.

However, the one positive is that Helvetic is still discussing whether to restart its flights in 2014, so it could possibly continue to operate from Cardiff in the future.

If the government does buy the airport, there are talks of creating a new airport on the Severn Estuary that would replace both Cardiff and Bristol airports. The new airport, which could be as big as Gatwick and have two runways, would take a decade to complete and could see as many as 11 million passengers passing through it each year.

Access scheme given £5m boost

Infrastructure around Cardiff Airport could receive a much-needed makeover in the coming months, thanks to a ‘vote of confidence’ from the European Commission (EC). The EC will allow the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to offer the Rhoose hub a one-time ‘gift’ of £5m.

However, the future of the bursary is in the hands of the Welsh transport minister, Carl Sargeant, who could still subject the proposal to revision.

Cardiff Airport’s access problems became known in late 2010, when Flybe boss, Mike Rutter, said that the quality of roads and railways around the Rhoose hub was giving holidaymakers “an excuse” to travel to other airports in the region, such as Bristol.

Poor access, and indeed, the presence of better-connected rivals, is a major concern for British airports. Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster has endured inadequate local infrastructure since the first flight took off from the Yorkshire hub in 2005, while Stansted Airport has witnessed the defection of several airlines to better-connected airport, Gatwick. Belfast International in Ireland has lost business to rival, Belfast City, due to the latter’s proximity to the centre of Belfast.

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister of the WAG, applied for funding for Cardiff’s access project in March 2011, shortly before his responsibilities were transferred to transport minister, Carl Sargeant.

A link to the M4 motorway is imperative for Cardiff, but improved motorway access may only be part of the solution to the Welsh hub’s woes. Holidaymakers from London and the southeast must travel within ten miles of Bristol Airport to arrive at Cardiff, via the M4. Cardiff, therefore, needs a series of new, unique routes to encourage travellers to eschew the convenience of Bristol Airport, for the novelty of a flight from South Wales.

Unfortunately, as of June 13 2011, the airport’s list of beneficiaries (and inbound airlines) is somewhat lacking, and the access scheme is no closer to realisation than it was in October last year.

The WAG’s £5m contribution will represent just 18% of the total £26.5m required to connect the Welsh hub to the M4 motorway. TBI-Abertis, owner of Cardiff Airport, will be expected to find the remaining £21.5m required for the completion of the access project.

Cardiff needs "clear and coherent vision"

Cardiff Airport is facing a crisis, after budget airline, bmibaby, announced its intention to withdraw from the Vale of Glamorgan hub at the end of the 2011 summer season.

The development, while not immediately life threatening for the airport, has raised questions about Cardiff’s future prospects. Education leader, Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, of the University of Wales, noted that the Rhoose hub has a “critical role” as a driver of the local economy, but a lack of vision amongst airport bosses and local councils has allowed the nearby Bristol Airport to gain an advantage over Cardiff. “The question is, whether anyone is interested in doing anything about this situation”, the professor of enterprise explained.

Cardiff Airport’s popularity is waning: the price of parking spaces is up, and passenger numbers are down. Perhaps even worse, the Welsh hub’s ‘master plan’, a document that outlines bosses’ expectations for the future, has been written off as a failure. The airport had anticipated a high of 3.25m visitors during 2010, but poor transport links and the success of Cardiff’s rivals actually prompted a slump in passengers, down to 1.5m visitors by the end of last year.

Alun Cairns, an MP in the Vale of Glamorgan, placed the blame squarely on the collective shoulders of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). Mr. Cairns said that Cardiff Airport is operated “effectively and efficiently” by its owner, TBI Abertis. However, a lack of support from the WAG is hindering efforts to create a consortium of supporters and investors, centred on local businesses and councils. “There is an obvious need for a coordinated effort”, Mr. Cairns told the Wales Online website.

The departure of bmibaby will bring about the end of thirty flights a week from Cardiff, including routes to popular ‘sun and sea’ spots, such as Alicante, Malaga, and Palma de Mallorca.

Cardiff criticised for fee hike

Cardiff Airport’s new website, decked out in its trademark rosy red, is looking somewhat brighter than its owner’s future prospects, after officials at the Welsh hub compensated for the loss of 200,000 annual passengers by ramping up parking fees by 25%. Strangely, the fee, which Cardiff says was enforced by current owner, TBI Abertis, affects only those visitors with the foresight to book their parking space in advance.

The move has exposed an apparent rift between Cardiff Airport and its Spanish owner, with the former recommending that holidaymakers dispense with traditional advice and avoid pre-booking, if they wish to circumvent the charges imposed by Abertis. The airport has since “guaranteed” that all motorists will be accommodated, while discussions take place over the viability of the new fees.

However, loyal customers, Cardiff’s most valuable asset if it wishes to compete with the hugely successful Bristol Airport, are not happy with the airport’s “raft of new fees,” to quote news website, Wales Online. The parking charge bumps a week’s parking up to £81.50, an increase of £58.38 over February 2010. Unlucky travellers could also be hit with Cardiff’s £1 drop-off fee and a £2 trolley hire charge.

David Wallace, a Cardiff Airport regular, said that officials were in danger of "pricing themselves out of the market.”

Local ministers are concerned that Cardiff does not have enough major airlines on its books to prevent customers choosing Bristol over their local airport. Perhaps even worse, the Welsh capital may not have sufficient infrastructure to support a large carrier. Flybe boss, Mike Rutter, warned that airport access roads were not fit for purpose: “to win business from Bristol, which has a bigger capacity marketplace, (the road) has to be better.”

The unbalanced rivalry between Cardiff and Bristol mirrors that of Newcastle and Durham airports in the northeast. Durham, having lost 30% of its passengers to its rival and the recession, introduced a ‘Passenger Facility Fee’ in October 2010, forcing customers to pay £3-6 to pass through security checkpoints. The move, similar to Cardiff’s new parking charge, was universally condemned by travellers.

Gate prices at Cardiff’s car parks remain the same, though the recent VAT rise forced a “slight increase” in the price of all spaces.

Cardiff unveils new website

Earlier this month, Wales’ largest international airport, Cardiff, unveiled its latest website design to the public. The new homepage, which retains its predecessor’s web address and raspberry-and-cream colour scheme, identifies visitors’ needs immediately, before directing them to the appropriate part of the site.

First-time visitors are treated to a number of options, arranged in colourful boxes, detailing a different stage in the often-tedious adventure that is booking a holiday, from ‘planning a trip’ to ‘meeting and greeting.’ Selecting one of the boxes ‘leads the user’ to the information most relevant to their visit.

However, at first glance, the website appears to take all visitors to the same page, regardless of their selection – a typical sunshine image surrounded by adverts and pretty pink buttons. The newly customised options are (rather unhelpfully) placed at the bottom of the page, a turn of the mouse wheel below the traditional, and far more visible, main menu.

Other new features include a customisable homepage for regular visitors, such as media types and frequent flyers, an “enhanced” booking engine, and the option to share web pages on more than 330 social networking and blogging sites. Visitors can also connect with Cardiff Airport on the hub’s Twitter page, @cardiff_airport.

“We wanted to develop a more modern website which embraces social media channels,” explained Cassie Houghton, PR manager at Cardiff Airport. Cassie noted that the Welsh hub was “greatly encouraged” by customer feedback, and hinted at further development of “mobile applications,” presumably iPhone and Android software, during 2011.

TBI Abertis, the current owner of Cardiff Airport, has also created nearly identical websites for London Luton, Belfast International, and Stockholm Skavsta airports.

Surf’s up for domestic flyers

Air Southwest, Britain’s “local airline,” to use the carrier’s slogan, is to introduce a daily flight from Cardiff Airport to the comparatively tiny hub, Newquay. The route will begin operating on January 4 2011, with a Bombardier Dash 8-311 likely to be the aeroplane of choice for the half-hour journey.

Newquay Airport, located close to the city of Truro, the largest conurbation in the ceremonial county of Cornwall, handles 450,000 passengers every year, many of whom are UK residents travelling to local attractions such as the Eden Project and Watergate Bay on the famous Cornwall coastline.

Mike Coombes, director at the airline, said that travelling to the southwest by air takes an average three hours less than the road journey, as motorists must drive around the Bristol Channel, and between the Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks, a journey of almost 200 miles.

“Cornwall is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year,” Mike said. "Newquay is a Mecca for surfing and a great resort for the whole family,” offering “beautiful beaches, wonderful walks and fine food.” The popular Fifteen Cornwall restaurant, a Jamie Oliver-branded outlet, is also in the Newquay area.

Prices for the Cardiff-Newquay route begin at £39 for standard class with an inclusive 20kg of hold luggage. Tickets bought under Air Southwest’s ‘Advantage’ scheme are charged at £115, and come bundled with an extra 10kg baggage allowance, access to executive lounges, and peace from screaming kids, who aren’t allowed into some first class suites.

Air Southwest is a major airline in the south of England, hosting 10 routes from Plymouth Airport, and 9 from Newquay. The carrier also has a sizeable base at Bristol. However, the flight from Cardiff to Newquay is the airline’s first route out of South Wales.