The first phase of Bristol Airport’s £24m terminal extension opened to passengers this week ahead of what is expected to be its busiest ever summer holiday season.
The 9,000 square metre structure features state-of- the-art technology in a significantly enlarged security search area, the first phase of which includes five new lanes, with a further five coming online at the end of the month. The terminal extension forms part of development plans which will enable 10 million passengers a year to use the Airport, the largest in the South West of the UK, and England’s third busiest outside London.
Passenger numbers passed seven million for the first time in a rolling 12 month period, and traffic is up by more than 10 per cent for the first half of the year.
In total, the completed extension will comprise 12 security lanes, including a dedicated Fast Track zone which will go live later this year. A pre-boarding preparation area provides a new space for passengers to get their belongings ready for screening, and an automated tray return system with extended conveyor belts will streamline the process through metal detectors, x-rays and security scanners where required. All of this will take place against the backdrop of Europe’s largest digital wall, measuring 14 metres in length and displaying a mix of information on overseas destinations and short films featuring inspirational journeys made by local people.
A new immigration hall will be developed in 2017, with plans including the installation of up to 10 of the latest ePassport gates.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: “We want to make Bristol Airport the first choice for passengers across the South West of the UK by combining world class facilities with West Country hospitality. This terminal extension raises the bar for regional airports by combining a spacious feel with the latest technology and a real sense of place.
“Seven million passengers use Bristol Airport every year, but the same number again travel to airports in the South East in order to fly. By providing an even better local alternative we can generate time and cost savings for travellers while freeing up capacity in the congested London airport system.”
The route network available from Bristol Airport is also growing, with direct services to 117destinations and frequent daily services to major hubs including Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin and Frankfurt, as well as a recently launched WOW air service to Reykjavik offering onward connections to North America. From May 2017, Thomson Airways will operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Florida and Mexico, highlighting the scope for more direct long-haul destinations in future.