Major expansion to Bristol Airport could provide more long-haul routes

PUBLISHED: 10:13 11 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:13 11 November 2017

The airport’s business development director Nigel Scott with VisitBritain's Carol Dray.

The airport’s business development director Nigel Scott with VisitBritain's Carol Dray.

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport is planning a major expansion which could see it provide more long-haul routes for passengers from 2018.

Following the return of direct flights to Florida and Mexico this summer, and the announcement of flights to the Dominican Republic next year, the airport has reaffirmed its ambitions to secure further long-haul destinations.

The airport’s runway is certified for code E aircraft, which allows for trips to North America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and parts of the Far East.

Daily departures to New York operated in the past, before being scrapped in 2010 due to the retrenchment of the airline market.

However, the airport’s subsequent growth suggests additional longer trips are a realistic prospect once again.

Airport bosses will consult on initial priorities for a new master plan later this year, and will seek views on how to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West over the next 30 years.

Nigel Scott, the airport’s business development director, said: “The strong short-haul network available from Bristol is a real asset to the region we serve, but we know businesses in the south west are also looking beyond Europe for new opportunities to trade.

“That is why we are working hard with existing airline partners to increase the frequency of services to major hubs, as well as exploring the potential for more direct long-haul services east and west.

“A level playing field on rates of air passenger duty remains vital to achieving these ambitions.”

Major investment in the South West, including the development of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, is expected to further boost demand for business travel to and from the region.

Initiatives to promote inbound tourism, such as the recently announced regional gateway partnership between Bristol Airport and VisitBritain, are set to increase the region’s profile in overseas markets.

Currently the ninth busiest airport in the UK, Bristol saw passenger numbers pass the eight million mark in 2016, and is the only major UK airport to have increased passengers every year since 2009.

The airport is celebrating 60 years at its current Lulsgate Bottom site this year.

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