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Air link has no benefit to us

Created on 11/07/2017 @ 07:09
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The North-South Air Link which has been labelled as “vital” for the Welsh economy has zero benefit to the people of Mid Wales, a local politician has warned.

Assembly Member Russell George is leading calls to scrap the public subsidy for the controversial north-south air link which the First Minister, in a written statement, described as “vital” last week.

However, the route has never been profitable and has even been called a highly subsidised shuttle service for senior civil servants and politicians.

 “The Welsh Government subsidy for the air link is more than £100 a head, which is higher than the cost of a return ticket,” said Mr George.

“If they can’t prove that the route can be cost effective in the long term then it should be scrapped.

“It might be vital for them, but there’s little evidence to suggest that it does anything at all for the wider Mid Wales economy.

“Instead of wasting millions more on an air link for civil servants and politicians we’d be better off investing this money in devolving economic levers to Mid Wales through establishing a Mid Wales Growth Deal to boost investment in our region.

“There's a North Wales Growth Deal, Cardiff Region City Deal and a Swansea Bay City Deal so there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn't have a Mid Wales Growth Deal which would deliver much better value for money for Mid Wales taxpayers and be of far more benefit to the Mid Wales economy.”

In March this year a new operator – Eastern Airways – was announced for the route which runs weekday flights between Anglesey and Cardiff. It is believed the annual subsidy from the Welsh Government is around £1.2 million.

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