With Cardiff City getting promoted into top flight football this week, some could be excused for missing another damning blow for the Welsh Government in its attempt to save ailing Cardiff International Airport. Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority show a decline of 15% in passenger numbers last year, taking the total number of passengers using the airport to under 1 million (994,885).
The airport, which was purchased by the Welsh Government at a cost of £52 million to Welsh taxpayers, has been labelled as being vital to the Welsh economy. However Tuesday was the first time Assembly Members had met since its purchase last month, with those in opposition expressing dismay at the little to no progress thus far made on the venture.
This inactivity could be a sign of things to come, as the Welsh Liberal Democrat business spokesperson Eluned Parrott highlighted. She pointed out that the Welsh Government announced four years ago that it intended to introduce a bus link from Cardiff to the airport, which it is still yet to do.
This soap opera, which is being financed by Welsh taxpayers, is being played out when Bristol Airport has seen steady increases in passenger numbers and will shortly have a direct bus link with Swansea, via Cardiff. Unlike its potential Cardiff counterpart, this bus link has not received taxpayer funding.
With passenger numbers declining further and no progress in the weeks since the purchase, will Welsh taxpayers be left again with another white elephant?