So as the elected MP for the Vale of Glamorgan you’d think Alan Cairns would want and do everything possible to endorse and support Cardiff Airport, which provides local jobs and just so happens to be in his patch.
Perhaps he doesn’t know that Airports are good for economies bringing tourists, business and jobs to the region. Hmmm
You’d think, given the strategic importance of the airport as the gateway to WALES and as a key piece of national infrastructure that the WELSH Secretary (Alan Cairns is his name) would do everything within his power to help the airport continue its recent turnaround i.e. 16 months of continual passenger growth.
Apart from the usual support and encouragement, which ought to be a given but isn’t, there is one other area where his support and help could be a real game changer for the National Airport of WALES. That relates to doing everything in his power to ensure that Air Passenger Duty (APD) is devolved to the WELSH Government. This has already happened in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
So what is APD?
Airline Passenger duty (or APD) is a tax that is added to the price of your ticket.
APD was introduced 20 years ago. Initially it was £5 for European Flights and £10 for longer haul. But it has relentlessly increased so much so that it is £13 for short haul flights of up to 2000 miles, covering all of Europe plus Turkey and North Africa. A large majority of families pay this rate. On trips of 2000 miles and above it rises steeply to £71.
Why would it be a game changer?
And why are Bristol Airport and MPs in the South West quaking in their boots and lobbying hard to ensure it never happens?
The answer is because it would make flights taken from Cardiff a lot cheaper than comparable flights taken from Bristol.
It would give Cardiff Airport (the National Airport of WALES) a pricing advantage and be a real catalyst for further growth.
So why isn’t the WELSH Secretary supporting the devolution of APD to WALES?
Because the Bristol Airport owners are terrified as to what this could do their passenger numbers and because of this they have had a word in the ear of a number of South West MPs (notably Liam Fox). Those MPs have in turn had a word in the ear of The Treasury and The Chancellor to absolutely make sure this never happens.
So naturally the WELSH Secretary will look to protect and promote the interests of WELSH Business and of large employer in his constituency. You would think so ......... but the silence and passion for the WELSH corner is deafeningly absent. Cue the tumbleweed.
So in conclusion Cairns’ cojones are in a vice like grip by the Bristol Airport Mafia and his bosses, and in a bid to maintain his job he has decided to do nothing to upset the status quo.
So we end this post with Cairns’ cojones in grave peril if he deviates from the party line.