Cardiff falls in love with Paris again
“Getting another full-service carrier added to your airline roll call is always a big occasion,” suggests Marc Watkins, Aviation Development Manager at Cardiff Airport. “So having Air France back at Cardiff for the first time in four years has created a buzz at the airport and in our catchment – and it means that our passengers are smitten with the City of Love again.” The Air France service to Paris Orly is operated daily by UK regional airline Eastern Airways on its 70-seat ATR 72s. “Having the Air France brand on this city pair really opens up genuine two-way traffic, given the airline’s major market presence in France.”
The new French connection joins the operations of fellow flag carriers Aer Lingus (daily service to Belfast City, operated by Emerald Airways) and KLM (three times daily to Amsterdam) at Cardiff. The latter route recently celebrated its 35th anniversary in Wales – testament to a partnership of enduring longevity. “In these days when an air service can be turned on one month and then turned off the next, our relationship with KLM is the polar opposite of that, illustrating that long-lasting partnerships are still possible between airports and airlines today,” explains Watkins.
The return of Paris flights this summer is complimented by low-cost growth from Ryanair. The Irish ULCC is growing in Cardiff by over 50% in S23, with the introduction of a twice-weekly Belfast International route, its Dublin service increasing to daily, and the operational season of its Malaga route extended into September and October. “The market in Wales is broad enough to accommodate growth from both full-service carriers and LCCs,” adds Watkins.
TUI’s extra 40k seats
Looking ahead to S24, Cardiff has already secured a significant capacity enhancement from its biggest operator, namely leisure airline TUI. The carrier will start a new weekly route to Sharm El Sheikh in April next year, as well as adding extra rotations to popular destinations in Larnaca, Antalya and Tunisia in May. “TUI has shown more confidence in Wales by adding another 40,000 seats for 2024.” The expansion means that TUI will be offering over 200,000 holidays next summer from Cardiff with multiple weekly flights to its popular holiday resorts.