Cardiff International Airport was recently purchased by the Welsh Government at a cost of £52m to Welsh taxpayers, a figure which many advise is above its true value. The airport has also seen the number of passengers drop below one million and several major routes have been dropped in recent years.
In an attempt to save the airport, a new express bus route was proposed, ferrying both holiday makers and business people alike to this transport hub. In March the Welsh Government claimed that it would have this service on the road by August - a month or so late for many holiday makers. As I write, no details have been released about the routes, times, operator or even the financial burden that will be placed upon Welsh taxpayers.
Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, in answer to eight follow-up written questions asking for details of the new bus route, stated that she was “actively reviewing how we might improve access to Cardiff Airport since receiving proposals for a South East Wales metro in March”.
I regularly use Cardiff Airport to travel to Scotland and Belfast to visit family and friends. I would be disappointed to see it close, however it is not the duty of taxpayers to ensure failing businesses succeed. Many people prefer to use Bristol airport. The Welsh Government, no matter how hard it tries, cannot force airlines to operate more routes from Cardiff. It also cannot force more passengers to travel from Cardiff if they prefer to travel from another airport.
It is therefore hardly surprising that many people in Wales feel the Welsh Government has wasted £52m of their money, with much more to follow. Government's are not experts at running airports, and the latest twist in this tale proves that point again.