Cardiff International Airport and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) have joined forces through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership in a research programme, part funded by the Department for Trade and Industry and the Welsh Assembly Government.
At the core of this major project is the question: “Is there a barrier to flying from Cardiff International Airport for people in the West of England?”
Commenting on the project, Jon Horne, Managing Director, Cardiff International Airport said: “This project is a great opportunity to identify and dispel misconceptions about travelling to Wales. Almost 10% of the passengers already using the airport originate outside Wales, and there is evidence to support the fact that, while this number is growing, there is immense scope for reducing the number of West of England passengers still making the trek to Heathrow and South East airports.
“We are not suggesting that people living in Bristol should, or would choose Cardiff over Bristol Airport for the same destination. However, Cardiff now has a growing range of services, including long haul flights, which are unique in the Southwest of the UK.
“More importantly, this is about the future. Planned improvements to the airport’s road access and the recently opened rail link will make the airport easier to reach and more attractive to a new audience. Already, we are working to establish direct rail services from a range of places such as Bath, Bristol, Gloucester and Swindon.
“Having the data from this research project will inform the messages we need to convey to that new audience about the opportunities presented by Cardiff International Airport. It will also be vital in our work to attract new routes and airlines.”
The partnership has appointed Oliver Jaycock (27), from Torbay in Devon, to manage the project. A First Class Honours graduate in Business and Tourism Management, Oliver will be based at the airport.
Working with the resources of UWIC and the airport, the project is scheduled to run for two and a half years, although vital data will begin to flow during 2006.
Head of UWIC’s Welsh School of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management, Professor Eleri Jones, explained: “The whole point of knowledge transfer is that each partner learns from the other and in so doing moves forward and breaks new ground.
“I am certain that this will be the case in our partnership and will allow Cardiff International Airport and UWIC to become leaders in their respective fields,” she added.