The Welsh Government has proposed a £10m grant for airlines wanting to fly from Wales to Heathrow. The fund will available for airlines to bid for a share.
A ‘strategic partnership’ has been signed by ministers and Heathrow to identify opportunities from a business perspective for a planned third runway.
According to the Welsh Government, up to 8,400 jobs will be created which will uplift the Welsh economy by £6.2 bn.
A third runway would result in it being Europe’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project and it will be platform for huge growth opportunities. Though, at present the Welsh conservatives have said there are no “tangible commitments”.
Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative leader, said the announcement:
“Is a case of the Welsh Labour Government joining the party after last orders with no strong and tangible commitments like those secured by counterparts in Scotland”.
Last year The Welsh Government claimed a third runway was its preferred option for airport capacity in the UK.
The Welsh Government was criticised by Plaid Cymru in 2016, after supporting the third runway project without getting anything back in return and after the Scottish Government had reached a “memorandum of understanding” which included £200m in construction spending.
Heathrow and the Welsh Government have agreed to hold a summit on the 5th July in Cardiff. This will provide opportunity for Welsh businesses to bid for contracts at the airport.
The £10m Heathrow Route Development Fund is to be available for five domestic routes from 2021.
First Minister Carwyn Jones, said the partnership:
“Opens the door to explore a wide range of new opportunities, particularly for our existing supply chain companies that have the experience and expertise to support infrastructure projects at Heathrow”.
Plaid Cymru’s transport spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, said:
“Heathrow should be congratulated on having superior negotiating skills to the First Minister of Wales. The Scottish Government secured a commitment from Heathrow to reduce landing charges for all airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland, and a £200m commitment on construction related spend in Scotland. No such commitments for Wales.”
Cardiff Airport is keen to explore opportunities with Heathrow after the new runway is operational, chief executive Deb Barber said.