North-south airlink subsidy to be scrapped - our reaction
Published: 8 Jun 2022
The contract with Eastern Airways to run the north-south airlink between Anglesey and Cardiff airports has long been a controversial matter with both Friends of the Earth Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats having led calls over the years for the subsidy to be binned.
Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said:
“This is a very welcome step forwards in the fight against climate change.
“We know exactly how bad for our planet flying is and it would have been a huge contradiction to their other climate commitments if the Welsh Government had taken the decision to renew this contract and to carry on subsidising a small number of people taking this short flight.
“This is exactly the right decision, and we warmly welcome the decision to invest this money in sustainable public transport in north Wales.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Senedd Member Jane Dodds said:
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long called for the subsidy to be scrapped.
“It is a significant amount of public money to spend at a time when the pandemic has changed how we work, and we need to be doing all we can to stop the damage we are causing to our planet.
“The Welsh Government must now invest in local public transport connections and digital connectivity in north west Wales to ensure that communities can thrive.”
Friends of the Earth has long been critical of the Welsh Government providing a subsidy for the small north-south airlink between Anglesey and Cardiff airports.
With the contract up for renewal in 2023, in the autumn of 2021 we renewed our calls for the subsidy to be scrapped. We did a Freedom of Information (FoI) request which showed that the total subsidy available to Eastern Airways was up to £8,529,282.
The FoI also showed that in the last full year pre-Covid (2019-2020), a total subsidy of £1,981,191 was paid to carry 13,930 passengers which worked out at a subsidy of £142.22 per passenger flight.