I think there are five companies actually. As said, our friend comes on a Transavia flight from Rotterdam since he gets free flights with them. I believe Jet2 and Twinjet also, plus there are charter flights. The then Darwin Airline, now called Etihad Regional, applied for a route from Geneva that was turned down. We would have loved that in order to get back to Switzerland for family visits as well as Geneva being one of the key places for the two of us professionally. I have no idea what the reason was but if it is because of the limitations that says it all regarding new companies and destinations. At the same time, nearly as many people from Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands use it as from the UK, all in the Eurozone, so a Sterling oriented idea would not be as clever as it may seem.
Our friend being a pilot has said that air traffic control is inadequate and they can only dock two planes at a time, so with landing turning round with cleaning and all the other stuff they have to do I imagine more flights is difficult. Perhaps, but did not explain, the rules governing airports do not allow more flights because of the limitations.
Since the department has not given the airport as much money as it needs, they are in a tight corner. I agree that flying from Bergerac is far more comfortable than Bordeaux but apart from the number of people I have never had any issues there. It would hit this immediate area badly if something happened to reduce flights or even see it close down. However, with only about 300,000 passengers a year and that being the present capacity it is a difficult economic proposition arguing for more subsidies without the additional facilities. As for conference centre, hotel and so on that would need to convince investors. I remember reading something about hotels in Sud Ouest in the autumn that was about an accommodation crisis in that gîtes, chambre d'hôtes and small hotels are not doing well in the area and that some of the larger hotels, including the budget chains, do not have enough guests for around half of the year. Some have gone out of business in the last couple of years even. So, even if the finance was there and a site available who would invest in it? It is also an airport where uniquely we can turn up half an hour before flying and still check in and get the flight. When we arrive it is quick and easy to get out but the buses into town are only scheduled around flight times. So a restaurant complex, etc, looks like a bad business proposition. The idea seems great but in practice the people who put money into these things want a good return out of it.
It would be good if they can improve the place, but suggest we too are subject of market forces rather than things made for our convenience. That, I fear, is the bottom line.