Cardiff Airport is at the mercy of local infrastructure, according to budget airline boss Mike Rutter.
Rutter, who is sales and marketing director at Flybe, claims that poor road and motorway access around the Welsh hub is becoming an “excuse” to avoid the airport, affecting both passengers and airlines alike.
“You don’t want to give passengers too many excuses not to use Cardiff Airport,” Mike told WalesOnline earlier this month.
Plans to build a new road between the M4 and Cardiff Airport were recently deemed “too expensive” by the Welsh government and scrapped, prompting Mike’s comments.
The link-way could have opened up lucrative markets in London and the southeast of England, as well as providing travellers with better access to the airport.
Poor infrastructure can prove devastating to airport business. Freight firms struggle to move goods and travellers are more likely to choose a different airport than spend hours negotiating country lanes.
The latter point is especially pertinent in Cardiff, as the larger Bristol International Airport is only an hour’s drive from the Welsh capital.
Yet despite Mike Rutter’s concerns, the amount of money that Flybe squeezes out of Cardiff travellers increased 50% in the year to March 2010.
The airline reported a boom in the number of people flying to Scotland from Cardiff, with Glasgow traffic rising 45%, and a flight to Edinburgh posting an impressive 72% increase in sales.
Cardiff Airport has issued an open invitation for new routes from Flybe, after the carrier announced the purchase of 140 new planes.
Flybe is alleged to be one of just three European airlines to have emerged from the recession in profit, earning £5.7m in the year to March 2010, 98% more than the previous year.