BMI Baby has announced that they are pulling out of Cardiff airport, with services stopping later this year. The airline have also confirmed they will cease operating services out of Manchester airport.
The company are expanding services from Belfast City, East Midlands and Birmingham airports.
In an announcement on the airline’s website the company said that the nine routes operated out of Cardiff would stop after the Summer 2011 season.
“In the current economic climate it is essential for bmibaby to focus on airports where the airline already has a strong market presence and where there are strong growth opportunities for the bmibaby business.
“Therefore bmibaby has optimised their current flying programme and as a result of this bmibaby will cease operations from Cardiff Airport and from Manchester Airport at the end of the summer 2011 flying programme.”
The company said it would transfer two Boeing 737 aircraft currently based at Cardiff, and two more based at Manchester, to Belfast, Birmingham and East Midlands airports.
The firm said it would be entering into a minimum 30-day consultation process with all of the respective unions.
Cabin crew and pilots based at Cardiff and Manchester would be offered the chance to redeploy to the Midlands.
Cardiff Airport said they were “disappointed but unsurprised by the decision”.
The statement said that since 2006/7 when bmibaby accounted for 34% of passenger volumes there that had declined to less than 14% in 2011, having a huge impact on overall passenger statistics.
It continued: “Since 2002 both Cardiff Airport and the Welsh Assembly Government has provided significant support for bmibaby to operate in Wales, as the nation’s low cost carrier, only to see this announcement appearing today.
“It is regrettable that bmibaby has cited the economic climate as its reasons for withdrawing both in Manchester and Cardiff as both regions have demonstrated strong economic prospects.”