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Welsh Government steps in to provide Cardiff Airport with more money

Photo credit: Matthew Horwood

The Welsh Government has announced financial support to assist Cardiff Airport in facing the early impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, while calling on the UK Government to urgently change its policy towards providing further financial help for regional airports.

The existing loan arrangement, on commercial terms, between the Welsh Government and Cardiff Airport is worth £28m. The support announced this week is part of the £21.2m agreed in September 2019.

Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates announced that the Welsh Government will provide finance to the airport, through varying its existing agreed commercial loan facility, to support its reduced operations and to maintain solvency.

Cardiff Airport is eerily quiet as flights have been cancelled. Photo credit: Matthew Horwood

The Minister also called on the UK Government to develop arrangements to enable Cardiff Airport to receive additional state support as compensation for the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The airport returns £246m of GVA to the Welsh Economy each year and directly supports around 2500 jobs.

Global travel restrictions mean there are currently no commercial flights operating for passenger travel from Cardiff Airport and operational hours of the airfield have been reduced. However, the airport remains open to provide continued freight, emergency and critical logistical support to assist in the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Management at Cardiff Airport have announced that just over half the roles at the airport will be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks, to be reinstated when business needs change.

Ken Skates said:

“Cardiff Airport is an important part of our economy and our transport network, and this proactive step will help to protect the airport.

“We will release the minimum amounts of the existing loan arrangement necessary to keep the airport operating, and will ensure it can continue to support the wider response to the outbreak. This includes being available for key medical flights and serving the needs of the military and emergency services.

“However, our support from Welsh Government is a short-term solution for the airport and this is not a sustainable position. The UK Government has the key lead in supporting the aviation industry and must change its policy towards further financial help for regional airports.”