The Welsh Government says it will not operate Cardiff Airport, but it will be managed at arm's length, on a commercial basis.
Carwyn Jones said: "Cardiff Airport is a vital piece of economic infrastructure and a vital gateway to Wales."
"It is essential that the future of the airport is secured and that we develop long term, sustainable services."
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The decision comes after a campaign led by Plaid Cymru and Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Elyn Stephens to eradicate period poverty.
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