Executive Travel & Sightseeing

Bristol Airport – Cardiff Airport?

Bristol airport is calling on chancellor George Osborne to stop the devolution of Air Passenger Duty to the Welsh government.

CEO Robert Sinclair said if Wales is allowed to reduce or scrap the controversial tax, then it will be at a “significant commercial disadvantage” to its rival Cardiff airport.

“We are less than 60 miles away, we can see the airport from our tower,” said Sinclair. “Our catchment area overlaps, we serve the same market, same passengers and in some cases same airlines. Around 20 per cent of our traffic comes from Wales so there’s a very large market at stake.”

Sinclair said the decision could not only influence passenger behaviour but also airline behaviour.

“Airlines such as a Ryanair could increase profits simply by relocating aircraft from Bristol to a new base in Cardiff.”

The Welsh devolution bill is currently being debated by MPs from all parties in England and Wales.

Bristol airport claims if devolution happens it will suffer a 25 per cent drop in passengers by 2020, which will “seriously damage” a regional business that generates around £400 million in gross value added and supports 11,000 jobs.

Sinclair added: “We expect competition in the aviation industry, but that competition needs to be on a level playing field. Distorting this market will mean less choice and increased costs for people in the South West when going on holiday or doing business overseas.”

In a statement Cardiff airport said if powers are devolved the two airports can still operate successfully alongside each other.

“The people of Wales deserve a national Airport that attracts inbound tourism, serves the capital city and offers a great choice of routes at value for money prices.

“We believe that neighbouring airports should work together and complement one another, growing and strengthening side by side for the greater good of a thriving aviation industry across the UK.”

It added: “APD is a punitive tax that only serves to hinder Cardiff airport’s ability to continue on this journey of growth and we agree, therefore, that it should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.”

Bristol airport is the ninth busiest airport in the UK and the fifth largest outside London, handling 6.76 million passengers in 2015.

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