Cardiff-Anglesey airline troubles raise questions for Labour
Welsh Conservatives have called on the Labour government to clarify the situation surrounding the Cardiff-Anglesey air link, as information relating to Links Air emerges this afternoon.
The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed to a Welsh Conservative spokesman that the airline – which runs the service – has not had its safety approval renewed.
Other routes run by Links Air are not currently in operation, though the south-north Wales link continues. It is yet to be confirmed if a sub-contractor is now running the service.
The Welsh government has not yet made any statement on the situation. Welsh Conservatives have tabled an Urgent Senedd Question on the issue. Confirmation is yet to be received on whether it will be taken today.
Earlier this year, the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee concluded the government needed to do more to evaluate the marketing of the route.
The service was recontracted to Links Air in 2014 for four years, allowing for a maximum subsidy of almost four million pounds.
Today’s news comes on the day of a Welsh Conservative Senedd debate, in which the party has pledged to return Labour’s nationalised airport to private ownership by 2021 – the end of the next Assembly.
Labour ministers have spent over 80 million pounds on the publicly owned airport since 2012.
Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM, said:
‘Labour ministers must clarify the situation surrounding Links Air immediately.
‘The company’s contract was renewed just last year – at significant cost to the taxpayer. Now it appears the entire deal is up in the air.
‘Communities deserve to know if the route is continuing to operate within the current framework or if additional money is being used.
‘At a time when we have called for Labour’s entire business grants system to be reviewed, this is further evidence of a clear need to ensure boosted transparency in value for public money.
‘Given the CAA’s decision around safety approval for Links Air, communities will rightly ask questions and Labour ministers must provide swift assurances.’
Commenting on Welsh Conservative plans for the airport, Shadow Business Minister William Graham AM, said:
‘Welsh Conservatives believe that a thriving international airport is essential in order for Wales to compete on an international stage.
‘The benefits of international connectivity extend well beyond tourism, and play a vital role in attracting inward investment and developing trade.
‘Sadly Cardiff Airport is struggling to compete with its nearest rivals, not just in terms of passenger numbers but in terms of routes and infrastructure.
‘That’s why an effective strategy for growth is essential, and Our Blueprint for Cardiff Airport is a positive and proactive plan to restore the airport’s long term fortunes.’