Passenger numbers at the South West’s major airport exceed 7.5 million in 2016
Created: 4th Jan 2017
More than 7.5 million passengers used Bristol Airport last year, surpassing the total for 2015 by over three quarters of a million passengers*.The record annual number represents an 11.3 per cent increase year on year, and a seventh consecutive year of growth for England’s third largest regional airport.
Both charter and scheduled airline sectors contributed to the rise with the number of direct routes served reaching 117. Airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and bmi regional launched new routes in 2016, with destinations including Sofia, Bucharest, Venice, Nantes and Turin. Traffic over hub airports such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Munich and Frankfurt remained strong, with many passengers making onward connections to long-haul flights.
Continued growth is forecast in 2017, with passenger numbers expected to exceed the eight million mark for the first time in the Airport’s history.
To cater for increased passenger demand, work is underway on a £2.3 million project which will take the number of passport control points from the current ten to a total of 17 when it opens in April, including ten of the latest ePassport gates which provide a safe, secure and speedy alternative to the conventional border control process.
As well as introducing new equipment, the work will enlarge the immigration hall which will be redesigned to create a more welcoming environment and streamline the border process for passengers.
These improvements build on other upgrades to the arrivals experience delivered as part of the £24 million west terminal extension, including enlarged meet and greet and baggage reclaim zones, and a new World Duty Free store for arriving passengers. A new security search area is at the heart of the extension, which was officially opened by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, in December.
Other development projects include a new Silver Zone reception, expanded car parking and additional aircraft stands.
In addition, the construction of a 201-room Hampton by Hilton hotel development is nearing completion and will be available for passengers from spring this year. Beyond the Airport boundary, the imminent 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:
“These figures demonstrate that demand for air travel to and from the South West and South Wales continues to grow, with more passengers than ever making Bristol their airport of choice. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2017, and the improvements we are making to the whole Airport will further enhance the experience for our passengers this year.”