Ryanair has launched a new route and announced an increase in overall flights from Cardiff Airport.
The low-cost carrier will run 26 weekly flights from the airport this summer, a 63% increase from last year, and will add a new route to Belfast.
It follows the departure of competing carrier Wizz Air from the airport last month due to “excessive operational costs.”
Spencer Birns, the manager of Cardiff Airport, expressed his gratitude for Ryanair’s “commitment” to the facility.
Ryanair will run 14 flights to and from Dublin each week in addition to 4 flights each on the routes to Malaga, Belfast, and Faro.
David Bryon, the former CEO of BMI Baby, argued last month that the airport was in the wrong location and that nobody with a “right mind” would invest in it.
Simply put, there aren’t enough passengers. Cardiff Airport is not just on the coast, which reduces its catchment, but it is also located on the wrong side of Cardiff, he claimed at the time.
‘Wiped out’ by Covid
The airport has been owned by the Welsh government since its £52 million acquisition in 2013, but its value was just £15 million in 2021.
The Covid epidemic had “wiped it out,” said to Mr. Birns, who was named CEO of the airport in 2021, and a full recovery could take four years.
Prior to the pandemic in 2019, there were 1.6 million passengers; by November 2022, there will only be 812,000.
A spokeswoman for Ryanair said: “We look forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of customers onboard our flights to/from Cardiff this summer.”
Mr Birns added: “We are grateful for Ryanair’s commitment to working with us to grow more flight choice from Cardiff and we look forward to developing further options for our customers with the airline.
“Ryanair continues to recognise that people living in Wales want to fly to and from their local airport and this increase in choice is a good step for building on future opportunities with the airline in Wales.”