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Report reveals upsurge in passengers visiting friends or relatives
A new report has revealed an increase in the number of people using Bristol International to maintain their social networks by staying connected with family and friends. According to the study published by the Civil Aviation Authority (International Relations: the growth in air travel to visit friends or relatives), the airport has seen a seven-fold increase in so-called ‘VFR’ passengers since 2000 – more than any other UK airport over the same period.
VFR describes those passengers who travel in order to ‘visit friends or relatives’, and it is a segment of the market which has seen significant growth in recent years, outperforming holiday traffic. At Bristol International, the proportion of international passengers travelling to visit friends or relatives has increased from 11 per cent in 2000 to 31 per cent in 2007, when a total of 1.4 million people used the airport to stay connected with their family or friends.
Significant VFR routes at Bristol International include flights to France, Ireland, Switzerland, the United States, Poland and Spain (all with greater than 30 per cent of passengers travelling to visit friends or relatives). The figures include inbound flights by visitors to the South West as well as journeys made by UK residents to visit friends or relatives overseas.
The survey data shows that VFR passengers tend to make more frequent trips than holiday passengers, with over 40 per cent taking three or more flights per year.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol International Airport said:
“The CAA study shows that leisure travel is not just about sun and ski holidays, stag weekends and city breaks. The air links provided by Bristol International enable families to get together for special occasions and friends to stay in touch.”
“VFR passengers also provide a flow of new leisure visitors to the great sights and attractions of the South West, generating positive word of mouth and putting the region on the map in new markets around the world.”
The full CAA report on VFR can be downloaded at:
In a separate CAA report published earlier this week (Monday 16 March), Bristol International was one of only four regional airports in the UK to see positive growth in passenger numbers during 2008 (+5.74 per cent), demonstrating the resilience of the region’s economy and the strength of demand for flights to and from the South West.
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