1.2million people over a rolling year
The total number of passengers travelling through Cardiff Airport over the rolling year has passed the 1.2 million mark.
In February passenger numbers increased by 68% (totalling 75,055) on the previous year.
1.2 million passengers haven't been recorded in a rolling 12 month period since 2011.
Travellers are taking advantage of an increased choice of destinations, more availability and better timings on key routes plus airlines offering greater value for money to fly from Cardiff.
This impressive figure comes following a series of boosts for the Airport that have directly resulted in more passengers choosing Cardiff, including:
The opening of Flybe's two aircraft base at Cardiff Airport and a 14 route network, including new routes to Cork, Munich, Milan and Faro. The frequency of existing routes also increased to popular destinations including Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paris and Jersey.
Over 828,000 passengers flew through Cardiff during last year's peak summer season (May-Oct), taking advantage of Thomas Cook and Thomson Holidays packages to popular holiday destinations. Air Malta and Balkan Holidays flew passengers to Malta and Bulgaria respectively, while tour operator Newmarket offered specialist guided excursions around Italy.
Spanish airline Vueling enjoyed another successful year of flying passengers to and from Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Palma Majorca, resulting in the airline's decision to release an extra 41% of seats to the market for the coming summer - an additional 123 departures across the four destinations in 2016.
In October 2015, over 36,000 French and Irish rugby fans flocked to Wales via Cardiff Airport to watch their countries take part in World Rugby Cup matches at the Principality Stadium, while over 8,000 fans, also from France and Ireland, recently flew through the Airport to attend RBS 6 Nations rugby matches.
Routes seeing the largest passenger growth are:
- Dublin - operated by Aer Lingus and Flybe
- Edinburgh - operated by Flybe
- Faro - operated by Flybe and Thomson
- Lanzarote - operated by Thomas Cook and Thomson Holidays
The 9 months of growth from June 2015, averaging 35% per month are due to strong load factors on scheduled airlines including Flybe, KLM, Vueling and Aer Lingus plus strong charter performances with Thomson and Thomas Cook.
Debra Barber, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at Cardiff Airport, said: "To continue with this level of growth in the demanding winter months is hugely positive. Our airlines not only offer Welsh holiday makers flights to the sun, but also to the snow with ski flights performing above expectations. Increasingly the choice of flights is encouraging business travellers to fly from Cardiff all year round, enjoying the convenience of flying locally.
"2015 has been a real turning point for Cardiff Airport. We've had lots of exciting developments including a new base for Flybe with 14 routes on offer, as well as consistently strong performances from airlines including Thomson, KLM, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Thomas Cook.
"Looking ahead to the coming year we are confident we will build on this success. We continue to work with new and incumbent airlines to offer more travel choices for our customers and we will continue to enhance the passenger journey with a new departures area opening in summer 2016.
"Cardiff Airport is proudly flying the flag for Wales every day of the year."
Looking ahead in 2016, Flybe will begin its new flights to Verona once a week, while flights to Milan and Faro will increase to four times a week in peak season.
Charter flights to Cancun and Orlando will depart during the summer with Thomas Cook. Winter 2016 will see new direct cruise flights to Dubai with Thomson and P&O Cruises will continue with another programme of cruise flights to the Caribbean. KLM will also be operating more flights to Amsterdam using its larger Embraer 190 jet aircraft.