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Key role for regional airports following Davies Commission report

Created: 1st Jul 2015

Bristol Airport has stressed the role of regional airports in meeting growing demand for air travel while debate rages over the final report of Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission published today.


The report recommends the construction of an additional runway at Heathrow, but also highlights the opportunity presented to other UK airports in the coming decade as a result of existing capacity constraints in the South East.

Commenting on the report, Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:
“While London airports are locked in dispute over how and where to expand, regional airports are taking steps to serve their local markets more effectively. Bristol Airport has planning permission to handle up to 10 million passengers per annum compared to 6.3 million today, an extended departure lounge will open later this week, and the completion of a major terminal extension next year will take investment since 2010 to more than £120 million.

“Howard Davies and his Commission have done a thorough job in assessing capacity requirements in the South East but it is important that while considering the recommendations the Government does not lose sight of the role airports outside London can play during what is likely to be a long, drawn out process.

“At Bristol Airport, we are in the process of creating more efficient, comfortable and attractive facilities which will offer passengers from the South West and Wales a world-class airport experience on their doorstep. Alongside improved surface access resulting from major transport developments in the West of England, this will enable us to win back many of the six million passengers from this region who fly from London airports every year, freeing up capacity in the South East at the same time.

“The battle between London’s airports has dominated the UK aviation sector for too long, and it’s time to recognise that, for many passengers across the country, there is another option in the shape of resurgent regional airports like Bristol.”

“However, we are concerned that proposals for an Independent Aviation Noise Authority and accompanying noise levy - which are clearly designed to limit the negative impacts of a third runway at Heathrow - should not be rolled out at other UK airports where they will simply impose unnecessary costs. In our view, existing structures and approaches strike the right balance for regional airports, with local environmental impacts best resolved at a local level.”