Airport dropped by Wizz Air ‘is in wrong place’

By Lisa James
Home » Airport dropped by Wizz Air ‘is in wrong place’

Cardiff Airport is in the wrong place and no-one ‘in their right mind’ would invest in it, a former airline boss has said.

David Bryon, former Managing Director of low-cost carrier bmibaby, which operated as a subsidiary of BMI until 2012, told BBC Wales: “Nobody in their right mind would look at investing in the airport as an infrastructure. It’s not an attractive proposition as an airport for an investor.”

He was speaking after Wizz Air announced it is pulling out of Cardiff on 25 January.

Bmibaby operated at Cardiff airport between 2002 and 2011 and Mr Byron said the airline had considered Cardiff a ‘key attraction’, thinking it could grow passenger numbers.

But he said its location, on the coast at Rhoose, hindered growth.

“There just isn’t the volume of passengers,” he added.

“Not only is Cardiff Airport on the coast, which limits its catchment, it’s on the wrong side of Cardiff.

“Its location, unfortunately, is all wrong.

“You look at Bristol, which is somewhere in the region of eight or nine million, and then we go up to 14 million for Birmingham… you’ve got to really get to that four to five million [passengers] to be able to make the airport viable.

“If we look at Monday, there are seven flights taking off, and seven landing back at Cardiff.”

Wizz Air opened its base at Cardiff in April 2022 but cancelled most of its services from the airport for six months, before announcing on 10 January 2023 that it was pulling out altogether.

Cardiff Airport said: “Four of our existing airlines are still planning operations from Cardiff to all the destinations that Wizz were selling tickets to.

“We encourage those customers who had booked on Wizz this year, to consider an alternative choice to fly to their chosen destinations from Cardiff with TUI, Vueling Ryanair and KLM.

“We will continue our conversations with other airlines and partners to encourage that they offer more choice to fly from Cardiff at cost effective prices for our customers.”

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