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Take a look through the archives for further information about Bristol Airport through the ages.
2000s 1990s 1980s 1970s 1960s 1950s 1940s 1930s 1920s 2011
Bristol Airport showcased a short history of Bristol Airport throughout the ages since 1930. In February, planning permission for development which will enable 10 million passengers per annum to use Bristol Airport by 2020, is granted by North Somerset Council. Work on the first phase - construction of new aircrafts stands on the west of the terminal - begins in November. Helvetic Airways announced a new service to Zurich, commencing in December.
2010 Bristol Airport was one of only two of the UK’s top ten airports to grow in 2010, despite unprecedented challenges caused by volcanic ash. In its 80th year, the Airport launched a bold new brand, promising that ‘Amazing Journeys Start Here’, and this vision provided the driving force behind initiatives to improve customer services, build new and better facilities, and enhance regional connectivity. Highlights included the opening of an £8 million walkway connecting the terminal to eight boarding gates and reducing the number of airside coach journeys required. A state-of-the-art tax and duty free store also opened, and a new fleet of Flyer buses further improved public transport links to and from the airport.
A planning application for the development and enhancement of facilities to enable Bristol International to handle 10 million passengers per anum in 2019/20 is submitted to the North Somerset Council.
Six million passengers are processed in the rolling twelve month period to April. £3.2 million is spent on improvements to the security search area, and Air France announces a three-times daily service to Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Bristol International's support helps the Bristol-Bordeaux Student Exchange celebrate its 60th year. Ryanair opens a base at the airport.
In June new £7million retail and catering facilities open.2005
On 20 May Continental Airlines launches the first-ever scheduled non-stop transatlantic service from the South West to New York's Newark Liberty Airport.
This year 4.6 million passengers passed through the airport's doors. Eleven scheduled routes are introduced including Aberdeen, Berlin, Bordeaux, Budapest, Geneva and Madrid.2002 In February Bristol International becomes the fastest growing airport in the UK, with a year on year passenger increase of 44.5%.
2001 In January, the airport is acquired by Macquarie and Cintra for £198m. In March, low cost airline, Go, announces that it will make Bristol International its second UK base sowing the seeds for easyJet's operation today.
2000 On 3 March, the new terminal opens its doors for the first time with HRH Princess Royal doing the honours. Other infrastructure improvements include the introduction of a category III all-weather landing system. Passenger numbers pass the 2 million mark for the first time.
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1997 A rebranding exercise sees the birth of 'Bristol International'. In recognition of the increased overseas destinations served. FirstGroup takes ownership of a 51 per cent stake, with the remaining 49 per cent retained by Bristol City Council.
This year sees the tragic death of one of aviation's major characters - Managing Director Les Wilson OBE, a sad loss not only to Bristol but the aviation industry as a whole.
In May the application for a proposed new terminal building is approved by the Secretary of State.
Bristol Airport's rapid expansion continues with 100,000 scheduled service passengers passing through the airport for the first time.
August sees the highest passenger figures in one month since he airport opened - a total of 98,034.
A new international departure lounge including a duty free shop and 24 hour airside bar opens.
With the increase in the charter holiday market, seventeen tour operators now offer flights from the West Country.Back to top 1968 A new 5,000 square foot transit shed is constructed and many freight agents are beginning to establish their operations at the airport. 1965 Extensions are made to the terminal building. 1957 The Duchess of Kent, whose late husband - killed during the war - had previously opened Whitchurch Airport, opens the new airport. The first year of operation is successful with a throughput of 33,000 passengers. 1955 Bristol wins its ten-year battle for a new City airport. Lulsgate Bottom Airfield, which had not been in use as an R.A.F airfield in the 10 years since the war is purchased for £55,000 by the Bristol Corporation. It is announced that Bristol's new aerodrome will officially be known as "Bristol (Lulsgate) Airport". Back to top 1939 - 1945 Imperial Airways, KLM and other airlines transfer from London's Croydon Airport to Whitchurch. Flights operate to Lisbon with links to the United States via the Azores. The comings and goings of statesmen, spies, film stars and others are shrouded in secrecy, but Winston Churchill and Amy Johnson certainly use the Airport during this period. However, discussions on the fate of Whitchurch following the war conclude that it cannot be developed for peace-time use and its future is limited as there is no possibility of extending the runway. 1930 - 1939 Whitchurch develops slowly with passenger numbers of 935 in 1930 increasing to 4,000 by 1939. With the outbreak of the war the airport is requisitioned by the Air Ministry and has the distinction of being the only civil airport in operation in the U.K.
Bristol Airport is officially opened on 31 May by HRH Prince George becoming only the third civil airport in the country. 1929 These pioneers attract so much interest in their project that they became more ambitious and decide to develop a fully-fledged airport for Bristol. An area of farmland at Whitchurch is bought and the new airport is born. 1927 A group of local businessmen managed to raise £6,000 through public subscriptions to start a flying club at Filton Aerodrome. This later becomes the birthplace of Concorde. Back to top
Bristol Airport Through The Ages
View a short history of Bristol Airport throughout the ages since 1930.
Facts and figures
Filming and photography
Amazing Journeys Start Here
Find out how we’re making Bristol Airport even better and more convenient.
Virtual Bristol Airport
A virtual tour around and above the airport, created by a fan, in the popular flight simulator X-Plane.
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