3,000,000 passengers bid by 2025
CARDIFF Airport’s chairman believes it could reach three million passengers by 2025 and see a new £100m terminal at the same time.
Roger Lewis said: ”I am passionate and very ambitious for the airport and want us to achieve the next hurdle of two million passengers a year as quickly as possible and then head towards three million passengers.
“There is a view that we will achieve three million passengers by 2027. However, that for me is too late and I am a man in a hurry. And my view is that getting there by 2025 is achievable.”
The Welsh Government-owned airport has seen its passenger numbers grow steadily over the last few years to currently stand at just over 1.4m.
Reaching three million passengers would be dependent on attracting new airlines and existing operators expanding their routes, as well as favourable economic conditions as the UK leaves the EU.
But having air passenger duty devolved to the Welsh Government for the purpose of abolishing the tax would provide a huge stimulus for even greater airline investment at the Rhoose-based airport.
This year passenger growth is expected to be around 6% with healthy growth expected for 2018 and 2019.
Next May will see the launch of the first scheduled direct long-haul route for Wales and the south west of England to the Gulf, with Qatar Airways’ daily service to Doha.
The route to Hamad International Airport is set to generate more than 100,000 extra passengers a year.
Consultancy Arup, through its Cardiff office, has been appointed to draw up a long-term masterplan for the airport, including a new terminal building. The current terminal will reach capacity when passengers reach three million.
Arup will look at the funding costs for a terminal and its location, although it is expected to be near the existing facility.
Although too early to give any clear indication of cost, it’s estimated could be in the region of £100m.
Mr Lewis said: “The costs will be significant, but not prohibitive. So we have to think big and have a vision in Wales and that has to start now. That is why we’re working on long-term projects for the airport and we are confident that we can deliver.”
He said a new terminal would need secure private sector partner investors, it but only those taking a long-term view on a return on investment.
Mr Lewis said a new terminal could be delivered to coincide with reaching three million passengers at his stated target of 2025 – when he said he will no longer be chairman.
The airport’s highest ever passenger number was achieved in 2007, when under the ownership of TBI, at 2.3 million.