Posted: Mon 3rd Jul 2023

Council’s Haverfordwest airport “target is to run a functioning airport with zero subsidies” /
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jul 3rd, 2023

Haverfordwest’s airport – expected to make a £180,000 loss, must be run as a ‘zero subsidy’ concern, senior councillors heard. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

After an improved financial position in recent years, the position at the council-supported airport deteriorated in 2022/23, members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet heard at their July 3 meeting. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The out-turn position for 2022/23 was £238,000, with a deficit of £180,000 expected for this year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report for Cabinet members listed a series of proposed changes to charges and costs, estimated to generate some £232,000.
The largest single source of revenue, fuel, would net some £175,000 on its own, the report says, by increasing the existing mark up of Avgas by 55p per litre and jet fuel by 45p a litre. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In the last few months inspections have also identified two critical pieces of infrastructure in need of replacement:  aerodrome ground lighting, at a cost of £450-£500,000, and a fuel storage tank, at an estimated cost of £200,000.
It is suggested these be addressed through a business case for UK government funded seedcorn capital allowance to support the Celtic Freeport.
Deputy Leader of Council, Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change Cllr Paul Miller told fellow Cabinet members: “I am supportive of the airport being a working functioning airport in the county; however, I’m not closed to the view there are alternatives to how to work that airport.”
He added: What I’m not happy to do is continue to see revenue subsidies ploughed in; the airport must be run as a revenue-neutral site.”
He said the list of options proposed to keep the airport in the black included changes in fuel prices, which currently needed Cabinet approval, proposing they should be decided by delegated powers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Moving the recommendations, he said: “The target here is to run a functioning airport with zero subsidies.”
Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack said there was a strategic benefit to having a county airport, stressing: “But we do need to get it revenue neutral.”
He said a need for Cabinet to decide fuel costs “makes no sense at all”.
Cllr Miller finished by saying: “I think the council can operate it at a nil subsidy, I think we can. I think doing so strengthens our hand in doing other options, it’s a plan that feels like it has legs.”
Cabinet members agreed to the seedcorn capital bid for infrastructure improvements as part of the Celtic Freeport Outline Business Case, and the schedule of revised and new charges. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales

More from Pembrokeshire Council

Hopes Dashed for Community Pub at Closed Pembrokeshire Inn

Pembrokeshire Council

Family Given Approval to Stay in Pembrokeshire ‘Love Shack’ Built Without Permission

Pembrokeshire Council

New Official Policy Proposed for Flying Flags and Lighting Up County Hall in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Council

Online Petition Launched to Save Pembrokeshire Day Centre from Closure

Pembrokeshire Council

Four Days Left Before Vote for Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner

Pembrokeshire Council

Second Stage of Haverfordwest Transport Interchange Contract ‘Called In’ for Review

Pembrokeshire Council

Latest from News.Wales

Public Consultation Launched for ‘No-Gas’ Housing Development Near Maesteg

Bridgend Council

Opponents of Proposed “Super-Estate” in Wrexham Call for Public Meeting

Wrexham Council

Disused Newport leisure centre deemed safe by council officials

Newport Council

Plans Revealed for Fourth Phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route

Rhondda Council

Fear of Diluted Local Voice in Vale of Glamorgan Community Council Changes

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Smallest School in Rhondda Cynon Taf to Close Despite Strong Opposition

Rhondda Council