Bristol Airport’s ACC Chairman's Blog July 2021 | Bristol Airport
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Bristol Airport’s ACC Chairman's Blog July 2021

We have just held the Annual General Meeting of our Airport Consultative Committee and I am delighted to report that new members were voted in and some changes to our constitution which were agreed at our January meeting were confirmed at this meeting.

Our new members are John Savage of Visit West to cover tourism and Councillor Paul Goggin to represent Bristol City Council; we welcome them both. There was a slight change of role for one of our members. Jane Harrison was previously specifically responsible for tourism on our committee but at North Somerset Council Jane is the officer responsible for development of the local economy, which is now her role on our committee. Jane gives good advice to our committee and passes relevant information about the airport to NSC and local businesses.

Our meeting started with a presentation from James Richmond on the “Future of Flight” project being hosted by the airport. This is a trial of electrically powered helicopters to offer an air taxi service in this area. These aircraft are small, quiet and with no emissions. The project is still in the development stage but there will be public engagement; a series of workshops, focus groups and events in early 2022. It will be interesting to see how this new use of airspace will be integrated into the local airspace structure which is being reviewed as part of the total modernisation of UK airspace. It is anticipated that this project will put Bristol at the forefront of new aviation technology and quiet, emission-free aircraft should be developed to 9-12 passenger capacity fairly quickly and (as James put it) “easyJet size by 2030”.

The CEO of the airport, Dave Lees, reported that the air transport industry is gradually recovering from the covid-19 lockdowns and Jet2 and Jet2holidays are establishing an operating base at the airport which will create around 200 new jobs in the local area. Dave also confirmed that the airport aims to be the first carbon net zero airport in the UK by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Government target date.

At our next meeting in October we hope to have a presentation from the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN). This body was only established a couple of years ago as a source of advice for government departments and others but their research and other work to date is highlighting what is possible to ameliorate the effects of aviation noise.

Another group we hope to hear from in the near future is the Aviation Change Organising Group (ACOG). The structure of UK airspace is still based on the navigation systems and aircraft technology of 60 or 70 years ago. The new airspace structure will make use of the full capabilities of modern navigation systems and aircraft technology, offering shorter flight times, drastically reduced emissions from aircraft and a quieter environment in the vicinity of airports. The government recently confirmed funding for this project and the role of ACOG is to ensure that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), National Air Traffic Service (NATS), the various airports (including Bristol) and other stakeholders are all going in the same direction and at the same pace.

Baz Hamblin
Bristol Airport Consultative Committee