Bristol Airport reached another major milestone this week, with a total of over seven million passengers using the Airport in a 12 month period for the first time in its history.
This major landmark continues the upward trend which saw annual passenger numbers reach 6.76 million in 2015 – a sixth consecutive year of growth for England’s third largest regional airport.
Scheduled and charter airlines contributed to the rise, taking the total number of destinations served to 116, including 16 capital cities. The South West and South Wales’ major airport has also attracted new entrants into the regional market, with Wizz Air commencing services to Katowice in Poland, Kosice in Slovakia, and the Bulgarian capital of Sofia within the last 12 months.
In addition, Bristol Airport is the only the second UK departure point for Icelandic low-cost airline, WOW air, with flights to North America via Reykjavik. In April, Thomson Airways announced it will be operating weekly flights to Orlando and Cancun from next spring, which will see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fly from Bristol for the first time.
Development of passenger facilities to cater for this increased demand continues, with work well underway on a £24 million west terminal extension which will transform the security search process for passengers when phase one is completed this summer, as well as creating an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities and meet and greet area by the end of the year. A 201-room Hampton by Hilton hotel is also set to be open this winter.
Beyond the Airport boundary, the completion of the South Bristol Link (SBL) will enhance access to the Airport from the north, east and west. The SBL forms part of the MetroBus network of rapid transit routes in the West of England, to which Bristol Airport is contributing more than £4.7 million towards the cost of construction as part of planning permission for development to handle up to 10 million passengers per annum.
To celebrate the seven million milestone passengers and staff were treated to free ice creams sourced from local supplier, Gloucestershire-based Marshfield Farms.