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German airline drops Cardiff route for 2015

Part of the Germanwings fleet at Dusseldorf Airport Credit: Matthias Balk/DPA/Press Association Images

The only direct air route linking Wales and Germany, a weekly flight between Cardiff and Dusseldorf, will not operate next year unless a new airline takes over the service.

Germanwings, which is owned by the Lufthansa Group, launched the low cost flights in April, as a seasonal service which ran until last month. The German route was seen as an important part of a strategy to bring more tourists to Wales. Visit Wales, the tourism arm of airport owner the Welsh Government, was closely involved in securing the Dusseldorf flights.

Cardiff Airport is still trying to renew the service for 2015.

The reports circulating today regarding the service for next year are misleading as we are in discussions with a number of airlines – including Germanwings

– Cardiff Airport Spokesperson

However, Germanwings confirmed to ITV News Cymru Wales that the airline has pulled out of Cardiff.

In 2015 we will not operate on the route Dusseldorf-Cardiff.

– Germanwings Spokesperson

The Welsh Government has been asked to comment. The Conservative opposition in the Assembly see this latest development as a further sign of trouble for the Welsh Government's running of Cardiff Airport, which it bought for £52 million.

This is very worrying news for Wales’ state-owned airport, following the recent withdrawal of Cityjet flights to Glasgow and a downward trend in annual passenger numbers.

This route was only launched seven months ago to great fanfare as a way to tap into the German market to bring more tourists to Wales. The fact that Germanwings has pulled out of Cardiff Airport altogether so soon suggests a complete failure to properly market Wales to German travellers and improve business links between Wales and Germany.

Labour ministers must engage with Cardiff Airport’s remaining carriers to maintain and expand their route options and focus on attracting new airlines to restore confidence in Wales’ flagship airport.

– Shadow Transport Minister Byron Davies AM

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Chief Executive of Cardiff Airport to stand down

Jon Horne, who was Managing Director at Cardiff Airport from 2001 to 2007, returned as Chief Executive in April last year.

The Chief Executive of Cardiff Airport is to stand down in September, it has been announced.

Jon Horne, who took up the post in April last year after previously working as the airport's managing director, said a new perspective "will be beneficial for the next stage of development".

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have had to work with the great team at Cardiff Airport who have delivered very positive and significant change in a short space of time and it is a great credit to them.

There is still much work to be done, but I have agreed with the Chairman that a new perspective will be beneficial for the next stage of development and as such I have concluded my executive involvement.

– Jon Horne, Chief Executive of Cardiff Airport

Chairman Lord Rowe-Beddoe thanked Mr Horne for his work during his time at the airport and confirmed he will be available to the Board as an advisor.

Welsh Govt: 'Cardiff Airport is attractive for airlines'

The Welsh Government, which controversially bought Cardiff Airport last year for £52m after years of declining passenger numbers, says Ryanair's return "is proof that the airport is a highly attractive proposition for airlines."

This announcement is excellent news for Cardiff Airport, and clearly demonstrates potential for building the offer of low cost airlines. Ryanair is a major player in this sector so for them to introduce a route at Cardiff will help to build the profile of the airport and attract new customers.

It is also excellent news for travellers who will now have more choice and flexibility. Hopefully this will be the springboard for many more Ryanair flights from Cardiff.

This is one of several new flights operating from Cardiff since the Welsh Government bought the airport and is proof that the airport is a highly attractive proposition for airlines.

– Edwina Hart, Economy Minister

Last month, the airport announced a 9 per cent increase in passenger numbers since being taken over by the Welsh Government.

Read More: Welsh Government buys Cardiff Airport for £52m

Last year, Thomson, First Choice and Lufthansa all announced extra flights.

This January, CityJet stepped in to run services to Paris and Glasgow, after Flybe withdrew.

Cardiff Airport 'delighted' at Ryanair return

Cardiff Airport has said it is "delighted" that airline Ryanair has decided to begin flying again from the Vale of Glamorgan base, and it is "a major opportunity to increase choice for our customers."

We are delighted that Ryanair has chosen Cardiff as its 15th UK departure airport and see this as a major opportunity to increase choice for our customers.

This development fits perfectly with our strategy to grow the number of low cost airlines and flights available from Cardiff. It's great to add another major airline to our list and I'm sure this service will be a great success.

– Jon Horne, Cardiff Airport Chief Executive

Ryanair is returning to Cardiff, after withdrawing its route to Dublin in 2006.

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