Bristol Airport announce major expansion plans

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Bristol Airport has submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council to seek permission to increase capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers a year by the mid-2020s. Passenger numbers are expected to pass the nine million mark for the first time within the next year.

The proposed development includes new infrastructure, improvements to existing facilities, and operational changes to ensure the airport can continue to meet the demand for air travel to and from the South West of the UK.

Annual traffic through the terminal is currently limited to 10 million passengers under the current planning permission.

The proposals represent the first practical step towards an exciting vision to develop the region’s international gateway to serve up to 20 million passengers a year by the mid-2040s.

Under the new plans, the terminal will be further enlarged, with the additional space providing expanded passenger and baggage facilities. A canopy extension over a pedestrianised forecourt will improve the approach to the front of the building.

The number of on-site multi-story car parks will increase to three, with a new loop road layout to improve traffic flow within the airport site. An extension to the popular Silver Zone, which offers the best prices for on-site car parking, is also proposed to meet demand from passengers and help to prevent overspill into local villages.

Improvements will be made to airside infrastructure, including a new taxiway link to allow improved access to the runway for aircraft. The annual cap on night flights, which limits movements between 11:30 and 06:00 to a total of 4,000, will not be increased – although the airport is seeking to remove seasonal restrictions which stipulate how this quota must be distributed between summer and winter.

Local highway improvements are also proposed to ensure the additional volume of passenger journeys can be accommodated. These focus on the A38 junctions with West Lane and Downside Road.

Development will be accompanied by a new Section 106 Agreement which will mitigate the impacts of the application. This is likely to include obligations around surface access, noise and other local impacts.

Dave Lees, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: “Following consultation with the local community, airline customers, passengers and other stakeholders, these plans set out sustainable development to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West and South Wales over the next decade. They will help deliver more routes, destinations and jobs.

“These plans are a practical step to ensuring we continue to connect our region to the world, providing a gateway for business, investment and tourists. At the same time, we have sought to minimise and mitigate any impacts on the local community and environment, building on our track record of investment in surface access improvements.”


Commenting on the news James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West said:

“The business community across the region strongly supports the growth of Bristol Airport.

“As a key global gateway for the region its offer already supports those trading in overseas markets but also making Bristol and the South West a UK place of choice for people to visit, live, learn and invest.

“We want and need to see its growth and development supported by the necessary surface and other infrastructure, but also the economic benefits from it felt particularly by those most in need in the region.”

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