More than 8.6 million passengers used Bristol Airport in 2018. The record annual passenger number represents a 6.2% increase year-on-year, equating to over 400,000 additional passengers, and a ninth 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 125.
Airlines including easyJet and Thomas Cook launched new routes in 2018, with destinations including Sofia, Bulgaria, Ostersund, Cyprus and Larnaca, and airlines added additional capacity on existing routes. TUI’s long haul destinations remained a popular choice through the year adding to the growth. Traffic over hub airports such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt remained strong, with many passengers making onward connections to long-haul flights.
Continued growth is forecast in 2019, with passenger numbers expected to exceed the nine million mark for the first time in the Airport’s history.
In December 2018 Bristol Airport submitted a planning application to North Somerset Council seeking permission to increase capacity to handle up to 12 million passengers a year by the mid-2020s.
The proposed development includes new infrastructure, improvements to existing terminal and road facilities, and operational changes to ensure the airport can continue to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West of the UK well into the next decade. 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.
Nigel Scott, Business Development Director 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 selecting to use their local airport. We recently asked passengers for feedback on why they selected to fly from Bristol Airport, friendly, clean, welcoming, convenient and efficient were reasons behind passengers choice. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2019, and the improvements we are making to the whole Airport will further enhance the experience for our passengers now and in the future.”