Continued Passenger Growth at Cardiff Airport


In what has been an exciting twelve months at Wales’ national airport, the 2018/19 financial year has ended with a 7% increase in passenger growth. The number of customers flying through Cardiff Airport now stands at more than 1,588 million over the rolling year.

On 1st May 2018 Qatar Airways began operating a regular service to Doha, Qatar. This direct flight to the Middle East offers customers from Wales and south west England the opportunity to travel onwards to destinations including Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Asia from Cardiff.  Just a few days later KLM celebrated 30 years of flying customers between Cardiff and Amsterdam Schiphol.

In July, low cost tour operator Balkan Holidays which specialises in package deals to Bulgaria, reported a 10% increase in bookings for summer 2018, while in August Spanish airline Vueling which jets customers to Alicante, Malaga and Palma Majorca passed the impressive 800,000 passenger milestone.

Cardiff Airport then went on to welcome its busiest summer season in a decade, and saw its busiest Christmas in eight years.

12 months of passenger growth:

Month 2018/19 % growth from previous year Passenger numbers
April 10 105,292
May 12 165,364
June -2* 181,564
July 12 192,257
August 11 202,638
September 7 178,681
October 4 140,333
November 10 85,637
December 7 85,861
January 4 73,204
February 0 78,128
March 3 95,570

 *year on year decrease due to Champions League Final in June 2017 and associated event travel.

The Top 10 most popular routes in 2018/19:

  1. Amsterdam (and onwards) with KLM
  2. Palma Majorca with Vueling, TUI and Thomas Cook
  3. Alicante with Vueling and TUI
  4. Dublin with Flybe
  5. Edinburgh with Flybe
  6. Tenerife with Ryanair, TUI and Thomas Cook
  7. Malaga with Vueling and TUI
  8. Paris with Flybe
  9. Doha (and onwards) with Qatar Airways
  10. Belfast with Flybe

Travel on scheduled flights with Qatar Airways, Vueling, Ryanair, Flybe and KLM grew by 11% while charter flights operated by TUI, Thomas Cook and Balkan Holidays grew by 5%.

Passenger growth was also boosted by major events hosted in the capital city including the Guinness 6 Nations fixtures, which saw almost 8,000 passengers flying in from Ireland and to Scotland and Italy for the fixtures.

The beginning of the last financial year began with the unveiling of significant improvements to the terminal, including an extended seating area in departures, a re-vamped 51° Lounge, new food and drink outlets and a new Meet & Greet car parking service.

What’s next for Cardiff Airport in 2019/20?

2019 is off to a flying start with many new routes preparing for take-off this summer:

  • TUI will begin operating flights to Dubrovnik (Croatia), Naples (Italy) and Hurghada (Egypt) this summer, adding 100,000 seats from Cardiff
  • Ryanair has introduced new routes to Barcelona, Malta and Malaga complementing existing flights to Faro and Tenerife
  • Thomas Cook will operate its summer schedule on larger aircraft, adding 29,000 extra seats across its 11 routes, including a new route to Tunisia and starting some flights earlier due to popular demand
  • There will also be continuing improvements across the terminal
  • Cardiff Airport takes over the running of the St Athan airfield.

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, said:

“The last 12 months have seen another period of passenger growth with our busiest Summer and Christmas periods in a number of years. We’ve also been delighted to launch exciting developments to the terminal, improving the experience for our customers.

“As we focus on the next financial year, we remain committed to offering our customers choice and an improved experience when flying to and from Cardiff.  This summer is expected to be even busier with new routes and more seats available with our airline partners.”