Bristol Airport’s response to Heathrow decision

Created: 25th Oct 2016

Bristol airport urges government to support aviation growth across the whole country

Bristol Airport has highlighted the role of major regional airports in meeting growing demand for air travel following the Government’s announcement of support for a third runway at Heathrow.

Commenting on the decision, Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:


“Today’s decision reflects the new Government’s keen focus to keep Britain moving and demonstrate it is open for business in a post-Brexit era. However, most passengers flying into and out of the UK use airports other than Heathrow. The benefits of increased connectivity, inbound tourism and more jobs must be spread across the whole country, not just concentrated in London. 

In particular, the role of major regional airports, like Bristol, must not be overlooked following what has been a South East focused debate.  The solution to capacity constraints in London has dominated the UK aviation agenda for decades yet, even with Government support, a third runway at Heathrow remains many years away and better use of existing capacity must be a priority in the meantime. For many passengers beyond the capital, there is another option in the shape of resurgent airports like Bristol.”  

Bristol Airport is expected to serve more than eight million passengers next year.  Planning permission is in place for facilities to handle 10 million passengers per annum, while completion of a second major terminal extension this winter will take investment at the Airport to nearly £150 million since 2010.   

Commenting on surface access improvements to support expansion at Heathrow, Robert Sinclair said:


“Simply funnelling passengers from all over the UK into Heathrow is not a comprehensive or sustainable transport strategy.  More needs to be done to improve surface access to regional airports which can meet demand closer to where it arises, reducing journey times for travellers and encouraging public transport use in the process.  Support for schemes such as the Bristol South West Economic Link in next month’s Autumn Statement would demonstrate the Government’s commitment to balanced aviation growth with real benefits beyond the South East.”

Commenting on proposals to mitigate the environmental impact of a third runway at Heathrow, Robert Sinclair said:

“An expanded Heathrow would handle ten times the current number of aircraft movements at Bristol Airport, with at least 200 times as many people affected by noise.  This difference in scale clearly illustrates why restrictions and mitigation measures which may be required at Heathrow are not right for regional airports seeking to grow.  In our view, existing structures and approaches already strike an appropriate balance for most airports and the local communities around them.”


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