Cardiff airport returns to the black in ‘transformational’ year

Welsh government-owned Cardiff airport delivered its first profit in eight years in 2018.

The return to the black was described as a “significant milestone” for the airport’s long-term sustainability.

No earnings figure was given but the airport revealed an 8% growth in passenger numbers to 1.58 million following 2017 growth of 6% and 16% in 2016.

Passenger growth has now reached 60% overall since the Welsh gateway came under public ownership in 2013.

A draft masterplan for the next 20 years has been unveiled, setting out “ambitious” plans for expansion between now and 2040.

Last year saw the introduction of Qatar Airways flights to Doha and improvements to the terminal.

Plans for 2019 include new-generation passport e-gates introduced at border control and extended and re-configured car parks.

New services are planned by Tui to Dubrovnik, Naples and Hurghada this summer, adding 100,000 seats.

Ryanair will introduce new routes to Barcelona, Malta and Malaga complementing existing flights to Faro and Tenerife

Thomas Cook is to operate its summer schedule with larger aircraft, adding 29,000 extra seats across 11 routes and starting some flights earlier due to popular demand.

Airport chairman Roger Lewis said: “2018 has been a transformational year for Cardiff airport. We are now firmly on the map, not only as a strategic national asset for Wales but also as a significant gateway to the UK.

“We promised that we would grow and strengthen our business in 2018 and we have delivered on that promise. Passenger numbers have now increased by 60% since our change of ownership.

“Our focus in 2019 is to build on the contagious confidence that we have created over recent years. We have a clear vision for the future and ambitious long term plans for growth.

“The key for the year ahead is to consolidate our position and to continue to diversify our business by making best use of all of our facilities. Improving our customer offering will be front of mind for us all.

“That said, there are even greater opportunities ahead of us, and we are confident that we can continue to grow over the course of the next 12 months.”

CEO Deb Barber added: “The business is growing stronger and we are well positioned to deliver on our vision and purpose generating significant economic benefit to Wales.”

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