21 December

Cardiff Airport prepares for busiest Christmas in eight years

Cardiff Airport is preparing to welcome over 30,000 passengers this Christmas, an increase of 8% compared to last year’s festive season, during what’s expected to be the busiest Christmas in eight years at the national airport for Wales.

Today’s news concludes what has been an exciting 12 months at Cardiff Airport and a year that saw a new airline, new routes and more improvements to the customer experience.

Cardiff Airport is open for business over the Christmas period, with 400 flights expected, as people fly home to visit friends and family or jet off to warmer weather and far-flung destinations.

The top ten most popular destinations this festive season are:

  1. Amsterdam and onwards to the world with KLM
  2. Dublin with Flybe
  3. Edinburgh with Flybe
  4. Alicante with Vueling and TUI
  5. Doha and onwards to the world with Qatar Airways
  6. Belfast City with Flybe
  7. Tenerife with Ryanair and TUI
  8. Paris with Flybe
  9. Malaga with Vueling and TUI
  10. Glasgow with Flybe

The summer season was the busiest at Cardiff Airport in a decade, and brought with it some hugely exciting developments and milestones:

April saw the unveiling of some significant improvements to the customer experience, including an extended seating area in departures, two new Costa Coffee outlets, a revamped 51 ° Executive and Business Lounge and the introduction of a new Meet & Greet car parking service.

May marked a significant airline milestone and a ‘game changer’ for customers across Wales and the South West: the launch of a brand new service to Doha, Qatar with 5* airline Qatar Airways. The regular service on board an impressive Boeing 787 Dreamliner connects passengers via Hamad International Airport in Doha to over 150 destinations worldwide including Australia, New Zealand, India, China and Africa.

It was also a month of celebration for KLM at Cardiff Airport, who celebrated 30 years of flying customers from Cardiff to its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol and onwards to some 900 global destinations.

August, which also happened to be the busiest month of 2018, was a milestone month for low cost Spanish airline Vueling, who have welcomed an impressive 800,000 passengers since beginning their services to Spain from Cardiff six years ago.

Further highlights for the Airport in 2018 include the unveiling of our Draft Masterplan for the next twenty years and winning a coveted industry award by the Airline Operators’ Association for the Best Airport Campaign during AOA’s UK Airport Safety Week.  

What’s next for Cardiff Airport?

2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting year. TUI, the UK’s leading travel brand, will begin operating flights to Dubrovnik (Croatia), Naples (Italy) and Hurghada (Egypt) from next summer, adding 100,000 seats from Cardiff.

Ryanair will introduce new routes to Barcelona and Malta, complementing existing flights to Faro and Tenerife.

There will be continuing improvements across the terminal with an upgraded tray return system which will enhance the efficiency for customers at security search, passport e-gates will be introduced at border control and the car parks will be extended and reconfigured over the winter in readiness for summer 2019, not to mention the official launch of the completed Airport Masterplan.

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, said:2018 has been a transformational year for Cardiff Airport. We’ve welcomed a new 5* airline and a regular service to a Middle Eastern hub, our incumbent airlines have added more capacity and we’ve unveiled huge improvements in and around the terminal.

 “Customers have lots to look forward to in the New Year, which kicks off with a Super Break trip to North Iceland, a cruise around the fjords of Norway with Hurtigruten in March, and a spectacular ‘Northern Lights’ flight with Omega Breaks, taking off on 8th March.

“The team at Cardiff Airport have really got into the Christmas spirit this year too. We’ve worn our Christmas jumpers to raise money for Save The Children, donated gifts, hosted carol singers and even had a special visit from Father Christmas.

“Passengers travelling to Cardiff Airport during the Christmas Holidays should allow plenty of time to travel, and pay particular attention to public transport services as there may be different timetables in operation. Customers are also reminded to not travel with wrapped presents in hand luggage as they may need to be opened during the security process.”

Christmas and New Year’s getaway ideas

  • Take the trip of a lifetime down under. Fly with Qatar Airways to six destinations across Australia and New Zealand
  • Get some sea air and sample stunning cuisine in Jersey
  • Hit the slopes. Fly with Flybe to Chambery, Geneva, Munich or Milan Malpensa and enjoy a white Christmas in the mountains
  • Chase the sun and head to Alicante or Malaga with Vueling
  • Enjoy US city breaks to New York or Boston with KLM to see in the New Year in style
  • Soak up those rays in the Canary Islands with flights to Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote with TUI.

View our infographic Cardiff Airport 2018: the highlights