The first phase of Bristol Airport’s £24m terminal extension opened to passengers this morning ahead of what is expected to be its busiest ever summer holiday season.
The 9,000 square metre structure features state-of-the-art technology in a significantly enlarged security search area, the first phase of which includes five new lanes, with a further five coming on line at the end of the month. The terminal extension forms part of development plans which will enable 10 million passengers a year to use the Airport, the largest in the South West of the UK, and England’s third busiest outside London. Passenger numbers passed seven million for the first time in a rolling 12 month period, and traffic is up by more than 10 per cent for the first half of the year.
In total, the completed extension will comprise 12 security lanes, including a dedicated Fast Track zone which will go live later this year. A pre-boarding preparation area provides a new space for passengers to get their belongings ready for screening, and an automated tray return system with extended conveyor belts will streamline the process through metal detectors, x-rays and security scanners where required. All of this will take place against the backdrop of Europe’s largest digital wall, measuring 14 metres in length and displaying a mix of information on overseas destinations and short films featuring inspirational journeys made by local people.
While the priority of this first phase of development is to address bottlenecks for departing passengers, an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities, and meet and greet area will be completed by the end of the year, also enhancing the arrivals experience. Completion of the current extension will then enable the immigration hall to be developed in 2017, with plans including the installation of up to 10 of the latest ePassport gates.