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Fly us to NewYork and the big German cities, Cardiff! Capital's airport must lose regional image, admits boss.

Byline: Aled Blake

BUSINESS NEEDS: Flights to major cities such as Aberdeen, London, New York and Cologne are a must for Cardiff International Airport, say Welsh business leaders

FLIGHTS to Germany's major cities and North America from Cardiff International Airport are the priority for businesses, latest results in a marketing campaign have found.

The airport's YouWould If You Could campaign, launched in January, has been asking executives what airports they would like Cardiff to serve.

Five of the top 10 destinations wanted are in Germany, with Frankfurt in second place, joined by Duesseldorf, Munich, Cologne and Hamburg.

Other top 10 cities include Brussels, New York, London, Milan and, in first place, Scotland's third city, Aberdeen.

You Could If You Would is being run in an effort to secure new international routes for the Welsh business community.

The airport has teamed up with the Western Mail to conduct research into the destination needs of business.

At present, many business travellers must go to Heathrow, Gatwick and other major airports in England for direct flights to destinations like Frankfurt.

Arange of organisations is supporting the campaign, including the CBI, the Institute of Directors, Business In Focus, Swansea Futures, West Wales Chamber NGb2bandInternationalBusiness Wales.

Airport officials say the findings from its You Would If You Could campaign will be used when making its case for new routes with some of the world's biggest airlines.

And they have called on more than one member of a business to reply to the research to give as comprehensive a set of results as possible.

The data is collected and reviewed frequently, providing accurate information about the travel requirements of Wales' business community, and is presented to the world's airlines as a clear indication of the growing demand for routes from Cardiff.

Initial data has confirmed that the majority of business travellers in Wales still use British Airways fromLondon Heathrow, primarily due to the fact that they have a limited choice of direct routes from Cardiff.

Spencer Birns, the airport's head of aviation relations, said: "To ensure we have a comprehensive database we encourage any friends, colleagues or business contacts who are regular travellers to complete the survey.

"The two-minute survey could help substantially reduce Welsh business executives' journey time in the future and could also open the region to a number of new business opportunities."

Mr Birns said the airport is targeting new hub destinations to link the airport with destinations in China and Malaysia.

The airport is adamant that new destinations are vital for Wales' economic growth.

Inan interviewwiththeWestern Mail earlier this year, airportmanaging director Patrick Duffy argued that Cardiff had to throw off its shackles as a regional airport and insteadmarket itself as Wales' national terminal.

Mr Duffy admitted there was a major need for direct flights to cities such as Frankfurt, Duesseldorf and Brussels from Cardiff.

To take part in the survey, visit www.youwouldifyoucould.co.uk

Airport to review online bookings after service provider ceases trading

The company which provides online bookings for Cardiff International Airport has gone out of business.

Airport executives say they are reviewing the need for a booking system on the web, instead turning its site into an information portal only.

Travel Worldwide, which operated the bookings system on the cwlfly.com website has ceased trading.

A message on Cardiff's website confirms the company has gone out of business and tells customers that the trip-finder facility for booking flights, holidays, accommodation and car hire is not available.

In a statement the airport said: "The cessation of the bookings system does not have any direct impact on Cardiff International Airport's operations and viability.

The rights to cwlfly.com now revert to the airport.

"Cardiff International Airport is reviewing the bookings element of the website and whether to reintroduce the service and if so, how."

The airport said cwlfly.com as a logo and its continued usage is being reviewed as part of a re-branding project under way.

Steve Hodgetts, business development director at Cardiff International Airport, said: "We are disappointed the operator of cwlfly.com, who operated the site alongside their own, has ceased trading and the issues this may cause for existing customers.

"Cwlfly.com was a market leading site when launched but has been increasingly imitated in a crowded market place. We will urgently review cwlfly.com's relevance now the market has changed and direct booking with airlines and mainstream operators is now so widespread. This review may lead us to conclude it is no longer necessary to compete with our airline partners sites in this form."

Customers who have booked using the cwlfly.com bookings system should contact Travel Worldwide on 0871 989 9928. They should also contact the specific airline or operator to ensure they have a record of booking and contact details.

If there are any queries or concerns contact Abta, the Travel Association on 01243 621 500 or email abtaclaims@cegagroup.com For claim information quote claims number AB29059
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jul 24, 2008
Words:826
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