Seaplanes firm floats idea for Cardiff Bay service

Seaplane on Loch Lomond
Image caption The company operates from locations including Loch Lomond and Glasgow

A Scottish company is hoping to launch a seaplane service, operating out of Cardiff Bay.

Loch Lomond Seaplanes already operates flights and tours from the river Clyde in Glasgow and from Loch Lomond.

Plans are being drawn up and there are hopes of trial flights, ahead of scenic flights starting in early 2011.

Capt David West, who is behind the idea, said it would be "an exciting medium for visitors and tourists".

He said seaplanes were quieter than the average jet ski and quieter during their 12 second take-off run than almost every other type of watercraft.

Capt West, a pilot for nearly 30 years, said he believes as well as tourism benefits, there was potential for flights to different parts of Wales.

"There are some 390 lakes in Wales and although not all are suitable for seaplanes, the country's geography offers a natural transportation network," he said.

'Considerable interest'

Capt West said the Scottish service was first launched seven years ago and Cardiff was being looked at as an opportunity to provide a service to people living in the south of the UK.

After talks with potential stakeholders and providing initial trial flights go well, it is hoped that Wales could have its own seaplane service operating on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay with scenic flights starting early 2011 from around £139.

Entrepreneur Prof Jeremy Stone, one of those interested in the seaplane service, said: "Seaplane services already operate successfully in other parts of the world so I am certain this will provide a boost to tourism both locally and across Wales.

"There has already been considerable interest prior to the launch and the seaplane could be an attractive proposition to a whole range of visitors."

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