25 October

The First Year

Roger Lewis marks his 1st anniversary in post as Chairman of Cardiff Airport on November 1st 2016, having been appointed in March 2015 by the Welsh Government. He has taken this opportunity to reflect upon the activity at Cardiff Airport over the past twelve months and to report to the Airport's stakeholders on what has been achieved so far and what is planned for the future. 

Lewis reports as follows:

"First and foremost, on behalf of the Board of Cardiff Airport, I would like to thank and congratulate Debra Barber, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, for the outstanding job she is doing in building a strong company so adeptly. Along with her fellow Executive Directors, Spencer Birns and Huw Lewis and alongside all of the Airport team, they have together worked tirelessly to deliver an outstanding and successful year.

Cardiff Airport, in conjunction with our airline partners, is now better positioned to serve our passengers, with more destinations, at better prices and at better times. 

Our goal is to be an outstanding Capital City Airport of which Wales can be proud.

Cardiff Airport can play a significant role in the aviation industry, both locally and nationally, and it is without doubt a strategic asset for Wales, already assisting in driving our nation’s economic growth. The Airport can play its part in the London airport debate as over one million passengers a year travel down the M4 to fly long haul. It is our ambition to help ease London airport congestion by achieving long haul flights from Cardiff. The abolition of Air Passenger Duty will help us to deliver on this.

For Cardiff Airport to achieve its full potential, we need a unity of purpose across the various political and business agendas and to align our respective strategies both in Wales and the UK, and I will continue to do all I can to take this forward.  

A significant hurdle we have to overcome is Air Passenger Duty.  £26 paid from every domestic return flight goes to the UK Treasury and I will continue to call upon the UK Government to abolish this punitive tax which is holding back our growth. Air Passenger Duty has been devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is time for Air Passenger Duty to be devolved to Wales. The considerable economic benefit and increased employment and prosperity such a move will make, will come at a very modest cost.  

We have much more to do to create long term sustainability for our enterprise, however, I am confident that we can deliver an Airport in Cardiff which is loved by its passengers, is welcomed by its partners, is profitable and recognised by all as being committed to delivering an exceptional service."

Lewis highlights: 

The Current Performance - 2016

"Before looking to the future it is important to recognise and highlight the success achieved over the past 12 months. There have been significant developments both in terms of passenger growth and connectivity but also improvements to our passengers enjoyment of flying from Cardiff.”

  • We have achieved 22% year on year passenger growth achieving 1.35million passengers
  • We have delivered sixteen consecutive months of growth
  • One in four of our passengers are visitors to Wales
  • We have launched 3 new routes to Verona, Berlin and London with Flybe
  • We now connect Cardiff to 8 capital cities (London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Belfast, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Amsterdam)
  • We successfully trialled London City flights resulting in a continued service with Flybe from November 1st
  • Vueling has increased its business by 50% over the past 12 months  
  • We announced a Rome service with Flybe for Summer 2017
  • We announced a Faro service with Ryanair for Summer 2017
  • The terminal has undergone a major transformation – including a brand new walk through tax and duty free store, and we have launched Caffe Ritazza and The Beer House bar and restaurant.

Lewis continues on priorities for the coming 5 plus years.

 2017 and beyond 

  • Continuing our growth in passenger numbers 
  • Enhancing the passenger experience  
  • Supporting our existing partners
  • Investing in our people 
  • Offering more destinations, at competitive prices with greater frequency
  • Understanding the needs of our passengers better
  • Using digital technology to transform our business  
  • Exploring all the opportunities which the Airport can offer its partners, including Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), fuel, freight and aviation related training
  • Reviewing with Government, Air Passenger Duty and its impact on our growth
  • Working with new partners for certain aspects of the enterprise
  • Growing all of our revenues whilst maintaining tight control of our costs
  • Building value in the Airport
  • Adding a new independent non-executive director to the Board with significant commercial aviation and airport experience, complimenting and enhancing the current Board's strengths.

Lewis concludes: "In addition to currently carrying over 1.35 million passengers in and out of Wales over the last 12 months, the wider economic importance of Cardiff Airport to Wales is significant.” 

The Importance of Cardiff Airport

  • Cardiff Airport now directly employs over 250 people
  • The Airport supports over 1,750 aviation related jobs and over 2,625 total direct and indirect jobs
  • The overall GVA impact to the local economy is £102million
  • 1 in 4 of our passengers are visitors to Wales, of which international visitors using Cardiff Airport contributed an estimated £55million to the Welsh economy
  • The Wales major events strategy with future high profile events already planned such as UEFA Champions League Final 2017 makes the role of the Airport critical for the international brand reputation of Wales 
  • The Airport can facilitate the travel for the 27,000 international students currently attending the eight tertiary educational establishments in Wales
  • The Airport is part of the Wales integrated transport strategy, and enhanced access to the Airport by road and inclusion in the Metro scheme is already underway
  • Cardiff Airport will play a closer role in support of the Cardiff Capital Region and the Enterprise Zone strategies
  • Six of the world’s top ten aerospace and defence companies operate in Wales. Over 20% of the UK’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) is carried out within 20miles of Cardiff Airport
  • The Cardiff Airport & St Athan Enterprise Zone presents a number of key development opportunities including the new Aston Martin centre of Excellence.

“As a Board, we continue to discuss how we enhance and develop our strategies for growth and sustainability, to identify our priorities, agree our objectives, and set clear goals and metrics for success. At the heart of our debate is the wellbeing of our passengers, our staff and our partners in terms of security and safety. 

We are determined to build a dynamic gateway between Wales and the world for people and business, and to create a welcoming entrance fit for our nation. This is an ambition I believe we all share. Working with our partners across Wales, the UK and the world, we will succeed.  

I sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to this outstanding year for Cardiff Airport and in particular thank our passengers for making the past 12 months so memorable."