Bristol Airport: 2017 shaping up as a ‘year of opportunities’
- Credit: Archant
2016: A ‘big year’ for Bristol Airport
One of the airport’s most exciting announcements in 2016 was the news that long-haul flights to Cancun, in Mexico, and Sanford in Florida, would begin operating in summer 2017.
Steady progress was also made on a £24million western extension to the airport’s terminal, which will transform the security search process for passengers once it is fully open.
The airport also unveiled plans to invest £2.3million in improving the arrivals area. It will increase its number of passport control points from 10 to 17 – including 10 new e-passport gates – and the arrivals hall itself will also be expanded.
However, chief executive officer Robert Sinclair told the Times the airport’s record passenger numbers were one of his proudest achievements of 2016. Mr Sinclair said: “2016 has been a big year for Bristol Airport.
“We began by being named the UK’s most punctual airport and finished number one in the country for overall passenger satisfaction, while major developments to customer facilities – including the west terminal extension – has taken investment in infrastructure to more than £150million since 2010.”
What’s in store for 2017
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The airport is set to hit a major milestone in the coming weeks, as its first-ever hotel is scheduled to open in February.
The Hampton by Hilton building will have 201 rooms, which are built in China and then shipped across to the UK, where they are then fully assembled on-site.
The rooms are made from former shipping containers, but are fully fitted out with high-quality furniture, electrical goods and a bathroom.
A new reception building for the existing Silver Zone car park will also be built, after planning permission was granted by North Somerset Council’s planning committee earlier this year, while the car park itself will also be expanded to accommodate an additional 3,500 cars.
Mr Sinclair told the Times he hoped the improvements would go a long way towards attracting passengers to the South West and encouraging people in North Somerset and Bristol to fly from the airport, rather than travelling to London to catch a plane from Heathrow or Gatwick.
Mr Sinclair said: “These new facilities will help us win back some of the seven million passengers from the South West who currently fly from London airports.
“We will also continue to work with tourism bodies across the region to welcome even more visitors to this fantastic part of the world.”
This year will also see the airport introduce a Weston Flyer bus service, which will improve public transport options between the airport and Weston. It is due to begin running in spring.
Mr Sinclair said he hoped the bus would make new jobs at the airport more accessible to people living in North Somerset.
He said: “More than 3,000 staff are employed across the Bristol Airport site, and new developments will create further openings for local people who want to build a career here.
“All of this means 2017 will be a year of opportunities.”