Cardiff International Airport

Cardiff International Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Cardiff International Airport
nativename = Maes Awyr Rhyngwladol Caerdydd
nativename-a =
nativename-r =

image-width =
caption =
type = Public
owner = TBI plc
operator = Cardiff International Airport Ltd.
city-served = Cardiff
location = Rhoose
elevation-f = 220
elevation-m = 67
coordinates = coord|51|23|48|N|03|20|36|W|type:airport|display=inline
website = []
slogan = Your Journey Made Easier
metric-rwy = Y
r1-number = 12/30
r1-length-f = 7,848
r1-length-m = 2,392
r1-surface = Asphalt
stat-year =
stat1-header =
stat1-data =
stat2-header =
stat2-data =
footnotes = Source: UK AIP at NATS

Cardiff International Airport ( _cy. Maes Awyr Rhyngwladol Caerdydd) Airport codes|CWL|EGFF is the main airport for Wales serving around 2 million people in Cardiff and the rest of South and West Wales.

It is located in the village of Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, approximately 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Cardiff, the country's largest city and capital.

As the only airport in Wales offering international scheduled flights (the other offering scheduled flights being Anglesey Airport), Cardiff Airport is owned by TBI plc and served by scheduled, low-fare, business and charter carriers, and also supports corporate and general aviation. The majority of flights are to Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and UK destinations with the most popular being Alicante, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Palma de Mallorca according to the Civil Aviation Authority. There are also some transatlantic charter flights to the USA and the Caribbean, with occasional ad-hoc charter flights to South America. [ [ CAA Route Statistics 2006] ]

The airport is a hub for Bmibaby, which is the largest scheduled airline at the airport, with Aer Arann, Flybe, Thomsonfly and Thomas Cook Airlines all having a large presence with Cardiff as a focus city, although Flybe have expressed their intentions to become the largest airline at the airport by 2011 focussing on the business and short leisure break sectors. [cite web | url= | work= Cwlfly | title= Flybe set to become Cardiff's biggest airline | date= 14 March 2008 | accessdate= 2008-03-25 ]

The airport's slogan is "Your Journey Made Easier."


The history of the airport extends back to the early 1940s, when the Air Ministry requisitioned land in the rural Vale of Glamorgan to set up a wartime satellite aerodrome and training base, named RAF Rhoose, for Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfire pilots. Construction work commenced in 1941, and the airfield officially began life on 7 April 1942 when it was taken over by No 53 Operational Training Unit. The commercial potential of the runway was recognised in the early 1950s with Aer Lingus starting a service to Dublin in 1952. A new terminal building followed, along with flights to France, Belfast and Cork. An escalation in holiday charter business resulted in passenger throughput exceeding 100,000 in 1962.

In the 1970s, the airport, originally known as 'Rhoose Airport', was renamed 'Glamorgan, Rhoose Airport'. Around this time the supersonic airliner Concorde made a few flights into the airport on special occasions. These were limited by the length of the runway, meaning it could only land lightly loaded, and only take off without passengers and with a minimal fuel load. In the 1980s, its name was changed to 'Cardiff-Wales Airport'.

1986 saw a further extension of 750 feet (229 m) to the runway, costing in the region of £1 million, thus attracting more business to the airport in the form of new-generation jet aircraft. Development of transatlantic links were made with charter flights to Florida, in addition to the previously-established links with Canada. The runway extension, enabling the airport to handle 747 jumbo jets, was instrumental in attracting the British Airways (BA) Maintenance facility to the airport. The maintenance hangar is one of the largest in the world at 250 m x 175 m (820 ft x 574 ft), providing heavy airframe and engineering maintenance for the British Airways fleet and third party carriers.

In April 1995, due to planned Local Government re-organisation in Wales, the Airport Company was privatised, with shares being sold to property and development firm, TBI plc, now a subsidiary of abertis airports.

The airport is not only the main maintenance base for British Airways but also home to a variety of aerospace-oriented firms and colleges, and therefore a major contributor to the economic development of the region.

The airport was used by over 2.1 million passengers in 2007, according to the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, an annual growth rate of 4.3%, making it the 19th largest airport in the UK in terms of passenger numbers.

The airport was the main base for three local airlines; Cambrian Airways from 1935 to 1976, Airways International Cymru until the airline ceased schedules operations in 1986, and Air Wales until the airline ceased scheduled operations in March 2006.

Flybe has completed the installation of three new self service electronic check-in kiosks at the airport, offering passengers an additional choice at check-in. Flybe is the first airline to invest in this technology at the airport.

During August 2008 Zoom Airlines, which operated the airports only scheduled transatlantic services to Canada, announced a suspension of all operations. In response it was announced on 10 September 2008 Scottish airline Flyglobespan will start a seasonal route to Toronto's nearby Hamilton in June 2009 to replace the lost service. [ [ Flyglobespan steps into Cardiff Airport] ]

On 12 September 2008 XL Leisure Group, which own XL Airways, ceased trading therefore suspending all flights to and from the UK. Being the only airline planning to fly to Orlando-Sanford in 2009, it is unknown if the route will continue with another airline.

The Future

A new airline was mooted as a new home carrier at the airport. If launched, Flyforbeans said they would operate to France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe. The airline intended to have routes currently unavailable from the airport. Flyforbeans indicated that it intended to begin operations in mid-2008, with 3 Boeing 737 aircraft serving up to twelve destinations in total. [cite web | url= | work= icWales - Western Mail | title= Flyforbeans has 12 destinations on its radar | date= 11 June 2007 | accessdate= 2007-06-29 ] However, the proposed airline's blog fails to show new entries after June, 2008, while flights apparently due to begin in September 2008 did not materialise.

Following a survey conducted by the airport operator in 2008 as part of a campaign to attract additional business routes to the airport, popular destinations such as Aberdeen, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Brussels and Scandinavia were identified as lacking a current link. The airport planned to conduct up to 25 meetings with airlines during May and June 2008 to support the case for more routes. [ [ You Would If You Could - Survey Results] ]

Airport management announced, on 29 March 2006, a £100 million development strategy which will see the current terminal being extended, as well as upgrades to the main body of the building.

It is anticipated that the investment will attract up to five million passengers by 2015 - an increase of 150% - according to the airport's published response to a UK Government White paper on the future of air transport throughout the United Kingdom. [cite web | title= The Future of Air Transport - White Paper and the Civil Aviation Bill, Chapter 6, Wales | url= | work= UK Department for Transport | date= 10 December 2004 | accessdate= 2007-07-02 ]

Road access to the airport by way of the A48 trunk road was the subject of a public inquiry in 2006 but this is now superseded by needs of the forthcoming Defence Training Academy at RAF St Athan, the bid for which included plans for a direct St Athan and airport link to the M4 motorway.

Public Service Obligation Flights

On 21 February 2007, the airport announced that the airport would see the first Public Service Obligation (PSO) service to be operated in Wales. [cite news|title=North-south airline is revealed | publisher=BBC News | date=21 February 2007 | url=] Inverness based airline Highland Airways would fly several services each day between Anglesey Airport and Cardiff. BAe Jetstream 31 aircraft were allocated to the route and it was hoped it would provide a quicker alternative to commuters travelling between North and South Wales, who otherwise rely on the A470 road or rail. The PSO service would be subsidised by the Welsh Assembly Government for three years; after this period, the route must be completely viable to continue. In May, the Anglesey service was claimed as a success, with over 1,000 seats being booked on the service within weeks of its announcement. There are options for up to 10 flights a day. [cite web | title=Big demand powers North-South air route | work=Cardiff International Airport | date= 8 May 2007 | url= | accessdate=2007-06-02 ]


Airlines and destinations

cheduled services

*Aer Arann (Cork, Dublin, Nantes [seasonal] )
*Bmibaby (Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona [seasonal] , Belfast-International, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva [seasonal] , Glasgow-International, Jersey, Lisbon [begins 29 March] , Málaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Warsaw)
*Eastern Airways (Newcastle)
*Flybe (Belfast-City, Edinburgh, Glasgow-International, Jersey [seasonal] , Newcastle, Paris-Charles de Gaulle)
*Flyglobespan (Toronto-Hamilton [begins 7 June] )
*Highland Airways (Anglesey)
*Isles of Scilly Skybus (Newquay [seasonal] )
*KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
**operated by KLM Cityhopper (Amsterdam)
*Thomsonfly (Alicante, Faro [seasonal] , Ibiza [seasonal] , Málaga, Palma de Mallorca [seasonal] )

Charter services

*Air Malta (Malta)
*BH Air (Bourgas, Sofia, Varna)
*Eurocypria Airlines (Larnaca)
*First Choice Airways (La-Romana [begins 18 January] )
*Monarch Airlines (Orlando-Sanford [ends 23 October] )
*Onur Air (Bodrum, Dalaman)
*Thomas Cook Airlines (Antalya [begins May] , Arrecife, Dalaman, Faro, Fuerteventura, Heraklion, Ibiza, Larnaca [begins April] , Las Palmas, Mahon, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife-South, Zakynthos)
*Thomsonfly (Alicante, Arrecife, Bodrum, Bourgas, Chambery, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Girona, Heraklion, Ibiza, Innsbruck, Kefalonia, Kos, Larnaca, Las Palmas, Málaga, Mahon, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Reus, Rhodes, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Verona, Zakynthos)

Cargo services

*TNT Airways (Liège, Shannon)

Transport links

Public transport

The nearest railway station to the airport is Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station on the Vale of Glamorgan Line, linked by a free shuttle bus to the departures terminal. Arriva Trains Wales provides regular services to Cardiff Central Station and Bridgend, connecting it to the South Wales Main Line.

Cardiff Bus, EST Buses and Veolia Transport Cymru buses serve the airport and provide regular shuttle services to Cardiff central bus station and the Vale of Glamorgan.

By road

The airport is 10 miles (16 km) from the M4 and is signposted. From M4 junction 33 (Cardiff West), it is reached via the A4232 (towards Central Cardiff) exiting at Culverhouse Cross, and then following the A4050 to Barry and finally the A4226 towards Llantwit Major. Another signposted route from the M4, from West Wales, is from Junction 37 near Pyle, which follows the A48 past Cowbridge then south along the A4226. However, there is a direct unmarked route from M4 Junction 34 (Miskin), following the country lane though Hensol, then at the crossroads (Sycamore Cross) with the A48, continuing along the A4226 to the airport.

With the growth in usage of the airport, traffic along the current access roads has become more acute leading to the Welsh Assembly Government to commission a study on improving road access to the airport. The consultants have suggested three possible schemes:
#Widening the A4232 to three lanes between M4 Junction 33 and Culverhouse. A bypass will be built connecting the A4232 directly to the A4050 to avoid the busy Culverhouse Cross roundabout.
#Constructing a new bypass road to link the A4232 directly to the A48 (Tumble Hill) before Culverhouse Cross. Airport traffic would then travel to Sycamore Cross then join the A4226 to the Airport. Improvements will be made to allow speeds to increase.
#Directing traffic from Junction 34 (Miskin) to Sycamore Cross then onto the A4226 to the airport. Improvements will be made to the route with new straighter sections added.Airport management favour option 3, which would ease pressure from the A4232 and provide a more direct access route from areas north and west of Cardiff such as Bridgend, Swansea, Llantrisant and the surrounding valleys. []

Executive aviation

Signature Flight Support the Worlds largest FBO are present on the north side of the airfield serving executive aircraft that visit the airport.

Dragonfly Executive Air Charter operate three Beechcraft King Air 200 series aircraft. The company office is based on the south side of the airfield.

Flight School

Cardiff Academy of Aviation is the only flying school located at the airport. The flying school operates a fleet of Robin, Cessna, Piper aircraft.

ee also

* Transport in Wales
* Transport in Cardiff
* Aeronautical Information Publication United Kingdom
* The Flight School


External links

* [ Cardiff International Airport official website]
* [ European and Worldwide Destination Maps]

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