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Written Statement -  Cardiff International Airport Limited’s Business Plan for 2017/18

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

The Welsh Government has agreed Cardiff International Airport Limited’s Business Plan for 2017/18. The Plan builds on the significant success achieved by the Airport over the last year. Because of its commercial sensitivity I am not in a position to share the plan with members, but it covers the next two years, with a five year financial forecast, and a twenty year indicative financial plan. The Plan is fiscally responsible, making effective and efficient use of the additional £15m of extended commercial loan facility agreed with the Welsh Government earlier this month.

The Airport has expanded the range of expertise on its Board, with the appointment of Terry Morgan as a non-executive director.  Terry Morgan has significant aviation and airport business development experience. This follows the promotion of the Managing Director, Deb Barber, to Chief Executive Officer. In parallel, the Airport has also recently recruited an additional member of the senior management team (Mark Bailey) who will be responsible for Airport planning and development. We will shortly open the recruitment process for an independent non-executive director to sit on the Board of the WGC Holdco, the company that owns Cardiff Airport on our behalf. With these appointments we are taking forward recommendations in the reports by the Auditor General for Wales and the Public Accounts Committee on the acquisition of Cardiff Airport.

Cardiff Airport is strategically important to Wales and the Welsh economy with a clearly established link between the success of the Airport and direct and indirect job creation. It sustains over 2,600 jobs and has an impact of over £100m on the local economy.

In 2016 Cardiff Airport achieved a fundamental and positive change in public attitude and perception about it and what it can deliver for the people and businesses in Wales. Under the leadership of its chairman, Roger Lewis, Cardiff Airport has focused on delivering for us an airport that is part of the national success story, and a symbol of Wales’ global ambition.

Over 1.35 millions passengers chose to use the Airport last year. This represents 16 per cent year on year growth, making it one of the fastest growing airports in the UK – the fourth fastest growing airport with over 1 million passengers. Growth is forecast to continue in 2017.

New routes have been introduced, with new Cardiff to London City flights demonstrating the Airport’s agility in responding to passenger needs during the Severn Tunnel closure – these flights have since been extended. Other new services launched during the year include Verona and Berlin, which means that airlines now fly direct to over 50 destinations including nine capital cities. I am confident that 2017 will see the number of destinations that can be reached from Cardiff increase.