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Bristol to Swansea coach link is latest blow for troubled Cardiff Airport

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 15, 2013

Cardiff Airport

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EMBATTLED Cardiff Airport is facing a new threat to passenger numbers.

Bosses at big rival Bristol Airport yesterday unveiled plans for a new hourly bus service direct to it from Swansea.

The capital’s airport has seen a steady decline in passenger numbers in the last five years.

Only last month the Welsh Government said it planned to buy the airport in the hope of helping it move forward to a more successful future. But this latest move will be seen as a devastating blow in the ongoing fight to revive its fortunes.

The Greyhound coach firm, which already operates a hugely popular run between Swansea and Cardiff, will operate the service which will end just metres from Bristol Airport's check-in hall.

End-to-end journey time from Swansea’s Quadrant bus station to Bristol Airport will be just two hours and 45 minutes at off-peak periods.

It is estimated that 700,000 of Bristol’s 5.7 million passengers came from Wales in 2011. This latest move is likely to significantly add to that, possibly causing Cardiff more financial problems.

First’s Marc Reddy described the extension of the service as significant adding: “We believe there is real potential for growth here.’’

Chief executive officer at Bristol Robert Sinclair said he was delighted at the move.

“First has taken this step to enhance connectivity for people and businesses in Wales. This is an exciting new addition to the public transport options available for passengers in an important part of our catchment area.

“The new Greyhound UK service will enable people in South and West Wales to access the extensive range of destinations available from Bristol Airport, including recently announced bmi regional flights to Hamburg and Frankfurt.

“The Greyhound service provides a convenient alternative to much longer journeys to Gatwick or Heathrow. Inbound visitors will also benefit, making it easier to reach venues such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Swansea’s Liberty Stadium for those attending sporting fixtures or concerts.”

The new service will start on Monday, March 11.

The Welsh government announced last month that it intended to buy Cardiff Airport from Abertis, its Spanish owner, in attempt to increase routes and encourage more people through its gates. The deal is expected to be completed in the coming months.

A price has not been announced, but First Minister Carwyn Jones insists a commercial operator will be brought in to run the airport if the sale goes through.

Total passenger numbers were down 13 per cent in 2011 to a little over 1.2 million. There was a further fall in the first half of 2012 to 440,000 from 558,000 — a decline the airport blamed on the departure of low-cost airline bmibaby.

Last week, Conservatives in the Assembly called on the Welsh Government to prove its plan to buy Cardiff Airport would be good value for the taxpayer.

But ministers defended their plans, saying they have public opinion on their side.

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  • Neathboy234  |  January 15 2013, 10:54PM

    williamwaun you still going to the Med mate, how 1970's. There is a bigger world out there, give it a try. Mind you i did travel to Newark from Bristol once, even that has stopped i think

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  • williamwaun  |  January 15 2013, 9:28PM

    One way tickets comes to mind.

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  • Neathboy234  |  January 15 2013, 5:36PM

    It doesn't make much difference to me as these days i always fly long-haul, something which nether Cardiff or Bristol.

    |   -8
  • Dan01  |  January 15 2013, 5:26PM

    At the end of the day whether Cardiff Airport does well or not is up to us,-use it or lose it. Last year , for the first time in over 20 years I used Bristol rather than Cardiff for one holiday and I have to say that I found no difference between the two apart from tha fact that Bristol was twice as far! The only thing Bristol has in its favour is that there are more carriers, hence more destinations. I have found Vueling excellent from Cardiff and is starting to fill the gap left by BMIBaby. I understand that more carriers are lined up for this year with new destinations like Dusseldorf and Austria. As I said, use it or lose it. That is our choice.

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  • williamwaun  |  January 15 2013, 4:06PM

    It say's it all about the Welsh Labour Government, they want to plough millions of taxes payers money to buy a dying airport. The airport is a disgrace, you get off the plane and wait up to two hours to get through customs and collect baggage. Only a handful of flight go out. Why don't they let it go into administration and then it could be bought for a £1 and someone could make a go of it. Instead the Welsh Labour Government want to waste millions on buying it. Carwyn please spend our money on our hospitals and houses.

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  • pierce12  |  January 15 2013, 2:19PM

    Big rival???? You having a laugh??? I would have thought thisissouthwales.co.uk would have been behind Cardiff Airport, just how wrong can you be????

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  • deridu  |  January 15 2013, 1:48PM

    Get the fighting gloves on Cardiff...... Thomsons had asked for more flights but were refused.... Other airlines asked to come here..they too were turned down. Cardiff need to say YES instead of NO. The interest is there, with right management this WILL be achived.

    |   9