Cardiff – Anglesey airlink cost taxpayers over £750K last year despite no flights taking off

Welsh Government paid out over £750,000 in subsidies on the Wales airlink in the last financial year despite no passengers flying on it.

The flight link between Cardiff and Anglesey was announced back in 2007 but the route has had a turbulent history. as early passenger success trailed off.

Eastern Airways took over the subsidised route in March 2017, resulting in growth of around 40% in passengers and in 2019 they were awarded a Public Service Obligation (PSO) deal until February 2023.

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But the pandemic hit and the service has been grounded since March 2020 with North Wales Live revealing in October that its future was under review.

Despite no flights taking off since then it cost taxpayers £753,422 in 2020/21 according to a freedom of information response on the Welsh Government’s website.

The Government said it could not go into the breakdown of the contact due to commercial sensitivity.

The overall maximum cost of the current five year contract is £8.5m – although this is dependent on the number of flights.

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It cost £1,981,191 in 2019/20 – taking 13,930 passengers, with the subsidy cost to taxpayers of £142 per passenger.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The £8,529,282 figure is the maximum value of the current contract which will expire on 17 February 2023. The actual spend to date is outlined in the FOI response.

“The maximum contract value was determined during competitive tender and the detail of that contract is commercially sensitive, however the tender was based on the provision of 10 flight rotations per week and final costs are determined by a number of variable factors.”

Eastern Airways have been asked to comment.

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