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Friday, April 30, 2010

Ieuan Air takes off again

Plaid Cymru Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones has finally got his faltering campaign air service off the ground again after the previous operator, contracted to fly politicians and businessmen between Anglesey and Cardiff, went bust.

Highland Airways had been paid £800,000 in subsidy to operate the service but still were not able to make it pay. In addition the Welsh Government were 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.

The new operator is Manx2. They will be commencing operations on 10th May. As a result the Deputy First Minister will find it much easier to get to work each week, not having to share the four hour train journey with other travellers.

Welsh Liberal Democrats have been strongly opposed to this air service arguing that it is not environmentally friendly and that the subsidy would be better used in improving north-south rail links. They believe that Ieuan Air does not serve the ordinary people of North-West Wales. It is certainly no use to all the people of North-East Wales. Whilst in Wrexham, people’s feelings are that it is nothing to do with them and it takes money off the rail service.

There is no indication as yet how much subsidy will be paid to Manx2 but no doubt that will be revealed in due course.
Dear Peter,
I would love to vote for the LibDems, but this issue about the Anglesey flight really gets on my nerves, I just don't know why the Liberals are do dead against it!.

If we had a good fast rail link between North and South I would be dead against it, but we haven't.

If we had a good road link between North South, then I'd be dead against, but we haven't.

So why not put that money towards improving the A470 or rail?
Well I remember IWJ saying somewhere that the subsidy would only pay for a handful of miles, and would do next to no difference to the rail network- perhaps a few more carriages.

So the only way to get to the South and get back within a day is to fly (until the other links are improved).

Now with the environmental, we all know that aeroplanes are filthy, especially compared with a [full] train.
I'm not a scientist but I'm sure flying a plane is less carbon emitting than having 17odd cars travelling the A470?!?

And then when it comes to IeuAir- I don't like IWJ but I have to defend him. The flight was launched in the last (Labour) Government. They put the infrastructure etc in. And yes he has flown on it more than any other AM (but not by much- I remember seeing his declaration and he's only flown on it some 2 times more than the second highest ranking person)- but remember he is the Ynys Mon AM!!. So fair play- give the man a break.

Finally, a terminal building has been built (for a ridiculous amount for what I remember- it's only a glorified shed)- so because of this, we've gotta use it or it's money down the drain.

To conclude, I'm pro better rail links- Wales really needs to take a look at how the Irish do railways (you can get from Cork-Dublin which is about the same distance as Cardiff-Bangor- in just 2.5h)

But as IWJ says £1M will get us nowhere on rail/road. So (FOR NOW) I thin the air link needs to continue for business people & people who need to get north/south urgently.

Then when (sorry IF- nothing seems to happen in Wales ever) the railways are actually fast we'll scrap the link.

BTW- when it comes to the train why on earth does it have to stop at every bloody station West of Chester?! I'm sure it'd cut times if we only stopped in major stations.

So please LibDem's done whine about this issue, put do continue to push for electrification of the main Welsh artery- and push Westminster too (I thinks it's them that deals with major things like this).

Good luck in the elections too, if it wasn't for Plaid Cymru I'm sure the majority of North West and West Wales would be LibDem gold- like they were in DLlG's days- when the Liberals used to be more "nationalist" and was more popular.
in due course = after the general election. Hopefully, before next year's assembly elections.
John, it is our view that the near £1m a year subsidy for this air service could be used to provide better rail links. The Welsh Government already subsidises a rail link but it by-passes Wrexham. Suitable investment could change that. As it is the air service is inaccessible to most of North Wales and is environmentally unnfriendly.
I flew from cardiff to anglesey once - by the time I'd got to cardiff airport, checked-in, been security done, flown, got somehow from RAF Valley to Bangor it'd have been quicker, cheaper and certainly more relaxing to get the train.

However it's dressed up, a heavily subsidised flight route from IWJ's patch to where he works simply stinks.
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