A leading Welsh Liberal Democrat has said that money saved by abandoning the Cardiff-Ynys Mon air service could help councils repair roads after the hard winter.
Speaking after the Western Mail revealed that the Welsh Government is paying the local council £400,000 a year to operate Anglesey Airport, the civilian terminal at RAF Valley built to cater for North-South flights to Cardiff Airport even though the service’s operator Highland Airways went into administration last week and flights have been suspended.
Jenny Randerson, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Minister, said: “There’s an element of farce entering into this.
“I would have thought the first thing the Assembly Government should be doing is discussing with Anglesey council how to minimise their costs and deal with their contractual obligations. I fully understand that if people have been employed to work there, there’s a contractual agreement and that has to be dealt with.
“When you ask the government how much it costs to run the service, they haven’t included that terminal. That additional cost will surprise some people.”
She said that restarting the flights between Valley and Cardiff airport would need even more subsidy than the £800,000 WAG paid Highland Airways each year.
“Highland Airways found the subsidy to be inadequate. Astonishingly large as it is to you and I, it’s been inadequate in commercial terms. If the Assembly Government wants to continue the air service, they’re going to have to pay greater subsidy,” she said.
“It didn’t serve the ordinary people of North-West Wales. It certainly was no use to all the people of North-East Wales. In Wrexham, the people’s feelings are that it’s nothing to do with them and it takes money off the rail service.
“I would never argue with the principle of improving links with North Wales but we’ve got to find the most effective way of doing it. That’s the way that assists the largest number of people, which is the railway.”