Bristol Airport reached a major milestone this week, with a total of over seven million passengers using the Airport in a 12 month period for the first time in its history.
This major landmark continues the upward trend which saw annual passenger numbers reach 6.76 million in 2015 – a sixth consecutive year of growth for England’s third largest regional airport.
Scheduled and charter airlines contributed to the rise, taking the total number of destinations served to 116, including 16 capital cities. The South West and South Wales’ major airport has also attracted new entrants into the regional market. In April, Thomson Airways announced it will be operating weekly flights to Orlando and Cancun from next spring, which will see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fly from Bristol for the first time.
Development of passenger facilities to cater for this increased demand continues, with work well underway on a £24 million west terminal extension which will transform the security search process for passengers when phase one is completed this summer, as well as creating an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities and meet and greet area by the end of the year. A 201-room Hampton by Hilton hotel is also set to be open this winter.
Beyond the Airport boundary, the completion of the South Bristol Link (SBL) will enhance access to the Airport from the north, east and west. The SBL forms part of the MetroBus network of rapid transit routes in the West of England, to which Bristol Airport is contributing more than £4.7 million towards the cost of construction as part of planning permission for development to handle up to 10 million passengers per annum.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:
“It is amazing to think that when commercial flights commenced on our current site in 1957 just 33,000 passengers used the Airport in the entire first year. We now see a similar number pass through the terminal on a busy summer day!
“Increased demand for air travel is a positive sign that our region’s economy continues to thrive. Given the growth in our route network and continued improvement in facilities and services, passengers are increasingly turning to Bristol as the premier gateway airport serving the South West and South Wales.”