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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