Cardiff Airport boss pledges to attract more airlines

Debra Barber says it is a 'a tough climate for smaller airports at the moment'

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The new managing director of Cardiff Airport says she is determined to reverse the decline in passenger numbers by attracting more airlines.

Debra Barber says she wants to make it the airport of choice over Bristol.

The Welsh government bought the airport for £52m following concerns about a lack of investment in the facility by the previous owners.

The latest figures show a 7% drop in the number of passengers in the year to September.

Ms Barber, a former RAF group captain who was appointed the airport's operations director in May 2012, took over as managing director two months ago.

She said: "It's a tough climate for smaller airports at the moment, the economic situation has had a big impact on the situation and we've got to respond to that.

Netherlands

"We're working really hard with the airlines to get them back in here, to get sustainable routes that we know are going to last and stay the distance.

"It's all about making sure we offer passengers the best possible experience when they come here so that their choice is to come here rather than go across the bridge into Bristol."

Ms Barber's comments come as Dutch carrier KLM announced it is increasing its capacity from Cardiff.

It has said it will be using a bigger plane on its route to the Netherlands, such is Wales' importance to the company.

The carrier has operated from the airport for 27 years, with Amsterdam Schiphol one of three international hubs from Cardiff, and the others being Dublin and Barcelona.

Passengers at Cardiff Airport The Dutch carrier KLM has announced it is increasing its capacity from Cardiff Airport

Cardiff Airport saw passenger numbers rise by 9% in the first 10 months of public ownership.

However, while over 1m people travelled from Cardiff in the last year, Bristol had almost 4.5m passengers.

The airport's former chief executive Jon Horne stood down from the role in September.

Mr Horne was appointed after the airport was bought by the Welsh government in March 2013.

He had been the airport's managing director previously, between 2001-2007.

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