LIKE many airports across the UK, Cardiff has had a very difficult time of it in the last two years.

The reaction to the airport’s predicament has been varied but I thought I would look today at two of the responses that I've seen over the past week.

The first and perhaps most predictable reaction was from the Welsh Conservatives.

Let's face it they have never been in favour of the airport being in public ownership but have never offered any serious alternative.

Strangely though they don't seem to mind airports being owned publicly, so long as it's somebody from their own party who is in charge. For example, Teesside airport was bought by a Tory metro mayor.

I don't remember the Welsh Conservatives fulminating about that decision taken by one of their own. I can only conclude that it's OK for an airport to be owned by the public sector, providing the owners have the right politics.

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Secondly, they did not complain when English airports were given money by the UK government. Apparently, it's only when a Welsh airport receives public support that they are opposed to the idea.

I do wonder sometimes whether this is all part of some strange “bringing the union together” plan to see south Wales more dependent on Bristol. I can't seem to explain it in any other way.

There are also those who would like to see the airport close on the grounds of climate change.

Let's look at their argument.

They are correct to say that if the airport closed then Wales’s carbon footprint would be reduced.

The same is true of course if you were to close down the steel industry but all you will do is lose jobs and see services and production move to countries with looser regulations thus increasing the carbon footprint of the world despite reducing that of Wales.

I don't think anybody could suggest that that is a sensible option.

Losing the airport would mean losing thousands of jobs because you would not just see the airport disappear but also the British Airways Maintenance base next to it as well as those businesses that rely on the airport.

I don't believe that closing the airport would actually reduce the world’s carbon footprint.

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If the airport wasn't there, then people would simply travel to other airports and fly from there. If people are going on holiday abroad, they will fly.

If people need to go and see family for example for a long weekend in places like Belfast or Dublin, they will fly.

There is no realistic alternative given the time constraints that they have.

Those people who currently use Cardiff Airport would probably simply drive to Bristol and fly from there instead. That would mean a million people every year travelling to that airport with the carbon footprint caused by their cars and the extra congestion in the Brynglas tunnel.

It simply wouldn't be the case that people would just stop flying.

To get to Bristol airport from Bridgend for example by train, you would have to change twice. That's some ask for a family of four with luggage.

It would not be the case that the carbon footprint of the airport would simply disappear because people would simply drive to another airport.

How do we encourage people not to fly as much then? As I've previously said the cost of train travel is far too much and instead of demanding that people not fly, why not make it cheaper to go by train?

The UK government has done the exact opposite. Through reducing domestic air passenger duty they will make it cheaper to fly than use the train.

With long-haul air travel they've decided not to do anything even though people don't have an alternative when they want to travel long distances.

The key to reducing air travel lies in reducing business traffic.

In reality, people don't need to fly as much as they used to because of the advance of digital technology.

We now live in an age when it's possible to meet with people from around the world online.

Even 10 years ago that would have been difficult but now a great deal of carbon can be reduced because of the need not to travel as much as before.

It's business traffic that drives a lot of the flying that takes place around the world. Reduce the need to fly in that capacity and you could go some way to reducing the carbon footprint of air travel.

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Carbon reduction requires a worldwide approach. Simply closing down one airport in the hope that will reduce the carbon footprint of air travel around the world is fanciful.

Failing to support an airport on the basis that you don't like its owners is even worse.

Of course, we need to reduce the need for air travel in the future but this must be done on an international basis. Otherwise, you end up simply exporting the carbon footprint you previously generated to another country. And that is a prime example of greenwashing.

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