Tag Archives: airports

Welsh Lib Dems call for end to Cardiff Airport £210m black hole

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Labour Government to outline plans to end what it describes as Cardiff Airport’s blackhole on taxpayers’ money.

Figures released by the Welsh Government yesterday show that passenger numbers at the airport continued to decline in 2021 from 2022, despite less travel restriction being in place. According to the data released, passenger numbers declined by 44 per cent in 2021 to 123,000.

The Welsh Government bought Cardiff Airport in 2013, despite former Assembly Member Eluned Parrott and the Welsh Liberal Democrats warning of the massive risk the purchase posed to Welsh taxpayers.

Since then, passenger numbers have never met the Welsh Government’s own targets and the airport was valued as just £15 million despite being purchased for £52 million in 2013.

Overall, over £210 million of Welsh taxpayers’ money has now been spent on the airport with various Government loans, cash injections and debt forgiveness being introduced. The airport’s high expenditure has caused the Welsh Liberal Democrats to label the project Welsh Labour’s biggest white elephant. The party also argues that the Welsh Government owning and subsidising an airport is incompatible with its climate goals.

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Stuck at the airport?

The scenes at the airports this week have been rather worrying.

OK, so in the grand scheme of things arriving a day late at a holiday destination may not appear to be a serious matter, but for the families involved it can be very challenging. Some are trying to have their first family holiday since the pandemic, and in many cases this has involved some belt-tightening as the cost of living spirals upwards.

Anyone who has travelled with young children will know how frustrating it can be when plans are upset. Amongst those caught up in the chaos are people with disabilities, children on the autistic spectrum and elderly people, all of whom will not find the delay and long queues easy.

Sarah Olney is our Transport spokesperson and she issued this statement yesterday:

The scenes at our airports are nothing short of a disgrace. Families are being left marooned for hours on end with no guidance from airlines or Ministers.

We need action now to break the deadlock and to save families from yet more travel carnage.

Yet travellers haven’t even heard a peep from Grant Shapps this week. The Transport Secretary has gone missing in action when the public will be looking to him for help. This is nothing short of a failure of leadership on his part.

It’s about time he fronts up for that failure with an apology to those who have had their travel plans derailed, and finally begins giving daily press conferences on the situation. Hiding away isn’t good enough – Shapps must face the music and scrutiny about his lack of preparedness for the Jubilee Bank Holiday logjam.

Since then Shapps has popped up and made some comments, mainly blaming the travel companies for overselling holidays. He has asked for a meeting with the leaders in the travel industry.  He said:

Despite government warnings, operators seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver. This must not happen again and all efforts should be directed at there being no repeat of this over the summer – the first post-Covid summer season.

Sarah has made this suggestion:

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Why Heathrow deserves a more thorough debate

It is now August and a good time to reflect, especially on those issues which have received insufficient attention.

Although Brexit has understandably dominated politics for many months, it is worth noting that just six weeks ago Parliament made the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow airport.

The vote – by 415 to 119 – approved the National Planning Statement (NPS) that paves the way for the £14 billion construction project. Peers did not get a vote.

Some people, whatever their past thoughts on the pros and cons of a third Heathrow runway, might think that the issue has now been …

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Heathrow: Theresa May kicks the can down the road

Commenting on the news that MPs will not get a vote on Heathrow expansion until next year, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

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Lord Brian Paddick writes… Is it reasonable to ban runway expansion across the UK?

Runway photo by Today is a good dayThis Conference we will be debating our Pre-Manifesto.  Of the huge number of policy proposals there is one likely to incite a great deal of considered debate within the Party – the commitment to no net increase in runways across the UK.  The pre-manifesto bans any expansion at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick and it prohibits a new airport in the Thames Estuary.  Is this a reasonable position to take?

I am a loyal Liberal Democrat and like most of us, I am conscious of the need to protect our environment.  I don’t have a car.  My world is my Oyster Card and unless I’m late for a very important date, I take the bus, train or tube everywhere.

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Opinion: You can allow airport expansion and protect the environment

Airport expansion equals controversy.

It sparks inevitable tensions between the demand for larger airports to fuel our economic growth, and concerns about the impact on the environment.

For those living closest to our major airports, especially Heathrow, those fears can be particularly acute as they endure current noise levels and view the prospect of increased traffic with dread.

And for Liberal Democrats it can often feel that our drive to create a stronger economy is being placed in direct opposition to our desire to protect our environment for future generations.

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