1954-1968: Cardiff Rhoose Airport


This was a pioneering time in which Micky played a key role in the development of civil aviation in South Wales, seeing Cambrian Airways develop from an airline operating Dragon Rapides, to DC-3s, then the Heron and thence to the Vickers Viscount.  He assisted local travel agents to develop the “package” holiday with Hourmont.
In 1965,  Micky wrote the following report:

" Rhoose Airport was constructed in 1941 by the RAF as a satellite to RAF Llandow and was primarily used for the training of Spitfire pilots.   It never assumed a glamorous role in the the famous fighter squadrons that defended this country as it did not operate but played a significant part in WW2, even though it finished its active life with the RAF as a bomb dump.  The only civil airport in South Wales prior to WW2 was the Cardiff Airport at Pengam Moors which was owned by Cardiff City Council.  At the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, civil aviation came to an abrupt halt and most of the civil airports in the country, including Cardiff airport, were taken over by the Air Ministry. 

After the war, Cardiff Airport was aquired by the new Ministry of Civil Aviation and made available for civil flying and Cambrian Airways were one of the first civil operators to re-form and start operations from Pengam Moors.
In 1951, it became clear that Pengam Moors was not large enough.  Detailed surveys had shown that it could only be extended at great cost and this would involve the diversion of a river, and even then there would be no guarantee that obstruction free flightways could be provided.  It was therefore decided to examine the possibility of developing an alternative site.

Various RAF airfields in South Wales were examined such as Llandow and St Athan before Rhoose was considered to offer the best prospect for development.  A significant part was played during these negotiations by the Welsh Advisory Council for Civil Aviation and the Cardiff Airport Consultative Committee.  The Chairman of both these bodies was Mr S. Kenneth Davies and it was his influence and perseverance with the then Minister of Civil Aviation that provided the urge to develop a new site in South Wales and the decision to take over the RAF airfield at Rhoose.  The aerodrome was situated on the Barry/Llantwit Major road, approximately 12 miles from the centre of Cardiff and served by a good road which offered a quick run between the City Centre and the airport.

The need for an alternative airport to Pengam Moors became urgent in 1952 when Aer Lingus wished to start a scheduled service between Dublin, Cardiff and Bristol with Dakota type aircraft which could not operate from Pengam Moors.

The bare facilities were provided at Rhoose to enable this service to operate, but after two years of successful operations, it was decided to transfer all civil flying from Pengam Moors to Rhoose and this was carried out on the 1st April 1954.

Cardiff Rhoose Airport