Thursday 17 December marked a major milestone and special occasion for Bristol Airport when Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened a multi-million pound terminal extension.
This is not the first time Her Royal Highness has visited the Airport, having officially opened the terminal building back in March 2000. That year just 2.2 million passengers passed through the new facility. Annual throughput has since increased to an expected 6.7 million in 2015, highlighting the development opened today.
The major terminal extension follows a 12 month build programme and £8.6 million investment. The development provides a significantly enlarged departure lounge featuring hundreds of additional seats as well several retail and catering brands and a second executive lounge. A stand-out feature is an outdoor rooftop terrace area with views of arriving and departing aircraft, including bar and restaurant seating under a retractable roof.
Design features of the terminal extension include finishes, colours and textures taking inspiration from the Airport’s local area. The use of timber and reeds alongside interior planting reflect the region’s natural beauty, while a striking lighting feature makes use of Bristol’s iconic blue glass to dramatic effect, with the glass chandelier sculpted in the shape of the River Avon flowing through the city.
During the visit and tour of the terminal Her Royal Highness met key stakeholders, representatives of the local community, business partners and staff. To add a festive spirit to the event, pupils from Wrington Primary and Winford Primary Schools sang traditional Christmas carols in the main check-in area.
One of the first stopping points on the tour showcased work already underway on a second terminal extension, to the western end of the main building. This £24 million project, the largest since the terminal opened in March 2000, will transform the security search process for passengers when it opens in summer 2016, as well as creating an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities, arrivals retail, and meet and greet area. Once completed next year, this will take the total investment in infrastructure at Bristol Airport since 2010 to over £120 million.
Work has also commenced on the construction of a 201 room Hampton by Hilton hotel set to be completed in 2016.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to Bristol Airport today. It gave us the opportunity to show the major improvements that have taken place since she opened the terminal fifteen years ago, during which time passenger numbers have increased threefold and the range of destinations served has more than doubled.
“This development is a significant step towards achieving our vision to provide passengers from the South West and Wales with a world-class customer experience when flying in and out of their local airport.”
At the end of the visit Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque which will be permanently placed within the terminal building. Her Royal Highness was also presented with handmade Bristol Blue Glass Christmas decorations as a memory of her visit.