THE Welsh Government will invest a further £21.2 million of taxpayer money into Cardiff Airport to support "ambitious plans for the future".

Transport minister Ken Skates said the airport was progressing towards a target of two million passengers a year.

The £21.2 million will be loaned to the airport over the next six years, and will be paid back, in full, with interest.

The Welsh Conservatives welcomed the aim to increase passenger numbers, but called for Cardiff Airport to be returned to the private sector for "proper" investment.

The Welsh Government bought the airport in 2013. Since then, Mr Skates said, passenger numbers had increased by nearly two-thirds. There are currently around 1.7 million passengers using Cardiff Airport each year.

But he said the target of two million passengers annually was being "hampered" by the disproportionate costs faced by smaller UK airports.

In September, the UK government quashed a bid to have Air Passenger Duty – a form of flight tax – devolved to Wales, arguing that doing so would negatively impact Bristol Airport.


"Regulatory burdens and security measures are not shared proportionately, and we continue to press the UK government to develop a more competitive environment for smaller, ambitious airports wanting to grow and expand," Mr Skates said today.

Responding to Mr Skates' announcement, Conservative AM and shadow transport minister Russell George said it was a "concern" the Welsh Government was "continuing to pump more taxpayers' money" into the loss-making airport.

"The airport needs to be sold back to the private sector, where proper investment can be made which doesn’t rely on the people of Wales shouldering the financial burden,” he added.