11-Apr-2016 Source: HeliHub.com
The BBC is today reporting that Cardiff Heliport has new operators, with Roy Steptoe and Hugh Evans having signed a 50-year lease. Mr Steptoe is the owner of Caernarfon Airport at the opposite end of Wales, and also owns fixed wing operator Air Caernarfon and North Wales Air Academy. Mr Evans owns an Agusta-Bell JetRanger III though his business Heliart Ltd, and also runs Venturbility Ltd, which offers “strategic and network advice for companies who want to expand their presence in the Middle East”, and was not available when we tried to reach him.
The heliport is two miles from the centre of Cardiff, and has seen significant use when sporting events are held at the nearby Millennium Stadium. Prior to the very brief BBC story being published, the press office for site owners Cardiff City Council were unaware of any changes, but told HeliHub.com that the heliport had been sold (rather than a new lease) and were rushing round trying to find out details and have promised us a statement. Enquiries at Caernarfon Airport said that Mr Steptoe was also not available.
The company Cardiff City Heliport Ltd is owned by Steptoe and Evans along with a third shareholder Peter Smith. The company was previously named Smart Dispensers Ltd up to 10th July 2015, which suggests that efforts by its owners in gaining control of Cardiff Heliport may have been going on some months. Future plans are currently unknown.
In March 2014, we reported that previous heliport managers British International Helicopters had moved all helicopters out of Cardiff Heliport. BIH is part of the Rigby Group plc, and they had indicated that a sister company in the same group – Regional & City Airports Management – would continue the management of Cardiff Heliport under contract to local authority owners Cardiff Council. The contract at the time expired in 2032. British International Helicopters was also in the news recently when they closed their base at Redhill.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com