Passengers from Swindon and Wiltshire flying from Bristol helped to make 2018 a record year for the airport which saw over 8.6 million passengers pass through its gates.
The record annual passenger number represents a 6.2 per cent increase year on year, equating to over 400,000 additional passengers, and a ninth consecutive year of growth for England’s third largest regional airport.
Both charter and scheduled airline sectors contributed to the rise with the number of direct routes served reaching 125. Airlines including easyJet and Thomas Cook launched new routes in 2018 whilst others added additional capacity on existing routes. TUI’s long haul destinations remained a popular choice through the year adding to the growth. Travel to hub airports such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt remained strong, with many passengers making onward connections to long-haul flights.
In December 2018 Bristol Airport submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council seeking permission to increase capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers a year by the mid-2020s.
The proposed development includes new infrastructure, improvements to existing terminal and road facilities, and operational changes to ensure the airport can continue to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West of the UK well into the next decade. Annual traffic through the terminal is currently limited to 10 million passengers under the current planning permission.
Nigel Scott, Business Development Director at Bristol Airport, said, “These figures demonstrate that demand for air travel to and from the South West and South Wales continues to grow, with more passengers than ever selecting to use their local airport. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2019, and the improvements we are making to the whole airport will further enhance the experience for our passengers now and in the future.”
2019 is already off to a busy start as Bristol Airport has announced it has become the first to launch a Trip Finder feature to its website.
The innovative feature allows passengers to search for flights using the month or day they want to fly and to filter results by types of holidays – including winter sports and city breaks. This gives passengers the flexibility to plan a holiday around their busy schedule and is ideal for those searching for a weekend getaway.
In other news announced in January, Bristol Airport is responding to calls for action from neighbouring communities by opening an on-site waiting area for taxis, alongside a free-of-charge drop off facility for private vehicles.
The move follows concerns raised by nearby residents about the volume of cars waiting in local roads, lanes and laybys in order to avoid paying parking charges.
This issue featured prominently in feedback in recent consultations on the future development of the airport. Residents of villages around the airport site reported increased problems with inconsiderate parking by taxis and other vehicles causing disturbance and even obstructing access to properties.
A commitment to open an authorised waiting area for taxis, combined with a free-of-charge drop off facility for all vehicles (as an alternative to the existing Express Drop Off), is included in the airport’s proposals for the Section 106 Agreement which would accompany permission for growth beyond the current cap of 10 million passengers a year.