By Eszter Gurbicz
In addition to the £21.2 million loan that was approved last year, Cardiff Airport has requested an extra £6.8 million loan from the Welsh Government.
Writing to the Welsh Assembly, civil servant Andrew Slade said that the initial £21.2 million from the Welsh Government will aid the airport in investing in “buildings and infrastructure, route development, and security.”
If this new loan is to be approved, the Welsh Government will loan the airport £28 million, the sum it asked for in 2019. This sum of money would go towards the investments mentioned above, whilst also helping to implement the next generation of security screening and runway resurfacing.
The airport was bought by the Welsh Government in 2013 and they have invested a lot of money into it since then; £52 million was paid in 2013 alone.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Cardiff Airport, since it was taken into public ownership, has been a success story and in very sharp contrast to the declining path to closure that it was on prior to the Welsh Government’s intervention.” However, there are some concerns regarding the latest potential investment as the airport continuously sees huge financial losses. Additionally, given that Flybe is the number one regional airline operating from Cardiff Airport and this airline has recently gone into administration, eyebrows are most definitely being raised.
How could improved infrastructure at Cardiff Airport benefit students? Thanks to the multiple universities located in Wales, especially South Wales, there is a large number of international students studying and living in Cardiff.
According to Cardiff University’s website, Cardiff University alone has more than 7,900 international and European Union (EU) students studying at the moment. However, even though Cardiff has an airport, many students currently do not benefit from it that much and there are several reasons why many choose to travel from other airports across the country.
Cardiff Airport is currently a very small airport, therefore not many airlines operate flights from it. Even though the number of cities where it is possible to get direct flights to is increasing, there are still many places where one cannot get from Cardiff. This includes many destinations where students come from.
This is true for both international and domestic flights. It is also often cheaper to travel from bigger airports as direct flights are sometimes more likely to be available from there, saving students time and most importantly, money. Therefore, it is not surprising that students often prefer flying from other cities, like Bristol or London.
Perhaps this new loan would help Cardiff Airport grow so that someday, more students find that it is possible to travel to and from home via Cardiff without having to travel to airports further afield.