WOULD Cardiff Airport have been more successful if it had been built near Newport?

Travel expert Simon Calder believes so, arguing the case that a new airport built “between Cardiff and Newport” would “transform” aviation in Wales.

His comments coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Welsh Government’s purchase of the airport, in Rhoose, and questions over the site’s future.

Since buying the airport for £52m, the government has seen passenger numbers fall sharply during the coronavirus pandemic and struggle to recover, as well as several key airlines pulling out, although there have been improvements to footfall in the past year and a new Cardiff-Paris route has just been announced.

A decade on from the government’s purchase, however, the decision remains a controversial one in some quarters, with critics in the Senedd arguing the airport is costing the taxpayer too much money and should be sold.

Mr Calder, a freelance travel expert who writes frequently for the Independent, pointed to what he sees at limitations to the Cardiff Airport’s location in the Vale of Glamorgan, and said the venture lacked a “viable business plan”.

“It’s a heck of a struggle to find one,” he told the BBC’s Politics Wales programme.

Barry And District News: Map showing the location of Cardiff Airport in relation to Cardiff and the M4.Map showing the location of Cardiff Airport in relation to Cardiff and the M4. (Image: Google (map source))

“As a nation, Wales needs an international airport, and Cardiff is the obvious place to put it, but I’m very sorry that the current location is not suitable at all,” Mr Calder added.

“Something with good rail and road links, maybe between Cardiff and Newport, would be the solution.

“That would absolutely transform aviation in the nation.”

How do you get to Cardiff Airport?

Cardiff Airport is located roughly 11 miles away from the M4, meaning passengers travelling there by car will face journeys of nearly half an hour when they leave the motorway.

Barry And District News: Street view image of Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station.Street view image of Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station. (Image: Google)

Buses travel to the airport, and the nearest railway station - Rhoose Cardiff International Airport - has minimal facilities, and can be found opposite a terrace of houses, two miles from the terminal.

Which airlines fly out of Cardiff Airport?

Cardiff Airport currently offers direct flights to Ireland and Northern Ireland, Scotland, France, the Netherlands and a flurry of resort destinations in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.

Tui, KLM, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Balkan Holidays all operate flights from the airport.

Recently, in partnership with Air France, Eastern Airways announced daily flights to Paris Orly, starting on April 21.

Commenting on the new Paris route, Marc Watkins, aviation development manager at Cardiff Airport, said it was “fantastic to welcome back another flag carrier to Cardiff Airport post-pandemic and offer people living in Wales another capital city connection, which is not only an awe-inspiring destination in itself but also a gateway to onward connections”.