Category Archives: Blog Posts

Announcing Bristol Airport Aviation Fair 2016

Bristol Airport Spotting are once again pleased to announce that they are holding another Aviation Fair in partnership with Bristol Airport on Sunday 18th September 2016 between 10.30am and 4.00pm supporting the Airport’s charity of the year which is Children’s Hospice South West.

Following the success of previous years aviation fairs the organisers are making this year’s fair bigger and better with more exhibitors providing more things to see and do. This year the airport are also opening the old control tower up to visitors and this will be accessible on guided tours, a chance to see a part of the airport not very often opened to the public. Unfortunately due to numbers the tower tours are only available to members of Bristol Airport Spotting and not the general public.

The Aviation Fair will take place in the Bristol Room which overlooks the main aircraft operational areas and runway giving panoramic views of aircraft departing and arriving, the Bristol Room is located in the Administration Building which used to be passenger terminal which closed in March 2000, the Bristol Room is rarely opened to the general public and we are very privileged to be able to use and allow visitors to see this great space. Ample seating will be provided to sit and watch the aircraft or to take photographs.

This year we are expecting a larger number of exhibitors to the fair, exhibitors to the fair include: Bristol Airport Spotting, Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club, Bristol Aero Collection, Fly2Help, IPMS Avon Model Club, South West Photographers and many other selling postcards, photos, aircraft models, books and anything related to aviation.

Free car parking will be available on the day but we would like to encourage visitors to car share where possible or use public transport as parking spaces at the airport are limited, information on travel can be found on our website. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks will also be available in Wings cafe, the newly refurbished cafeteria which is located downstairs within the same building.

Entry to the fair will be £1.50 for adults and children under 16 obtain free entrance, all proceeds from admission fees goes directly to the Airport’s charity of the year. The aviation fair is a perfect day out for families, individuals, enthusiasts or anyone who wishes to see the airport and the fair as well as browsing the exhibitors on display. Also available once the fair has finished will be a barbecue and events for children and adults over at the Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club.

We look forward to seeing you there for another great aviation fair.

Please visit the Aviation Fair Facebook page and let us know you are coming along – https://www.facebook.com/events/1570757296550824/

WOW Air arrives at Bristol Airport

On Friday 13th May 2016 the very first WOW air flight touched down at Bristol Airport, the flight was operated by an Airbus A320 TF-BRO arriving at 11:10am from Keflavik International Airport. The first flight marks the start of a new service from Bristol Airport to Iceland with connecting flights to various destinations in the USA. The flights will be operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and we are hoping after a while the airline starts sending Airbus A321 aircraft as well as the Airbus A320 that operated the first flight.

Simon Fewkes from Bristol Airport Spotting was privileged to be able to be airside for the aircrafts arrival and for promotional shots on stand while the passengers disembarked. When passengers arrived at the airport they were greeted by Jane Austen and Isambard Brunel giving them a real sense of the west country. Thanks to the airport for this opportunity and to airfield operations for the positioning alongside the runway for its arrival.

New aircraft on-ground system released

Bristol Airport Spotting have developed and recently released a new exciting feature on the website known as “Aircraft On-Ground”. This feature displays a list of aircraft that are currently being reported as on the ground, the information displayed includes the airline, aircraft type, registration, airline logo and a thumbnail of the aircraft. The data is being supplied to us by a third party who’s data is very accurate but at times can misreport aircraft on the ground, this new feature can therefore only be used as a guide.

To view the aircraft currently on the ground navigate to our website and hover over the “Spotters Tools” menu heading and then click on “Aircraft On-Ground”, the information will then be displayed. Alternatively please click the following link – https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/spotters-tools/aircraft-on-ground/

The on-ground system is powered by a Raspberry Pi mini computer:

IMG_0232

We hope you find this new tool useful, if you have any comments or feedback on this or any aspect of our website please do not hesitate to contact us.

New Facebook presence launched

After a period of discussion and decision we have upgraded our Facebook presence by creating a new Facebook Group, this new group allows all members to quickly and easily post their photos, videos, links and other media to the group for everyone to see, our previous Facebook presence was established as a Facebook Page which only allowed admins to post clearly with any posts to the page not showing in the same way or on users timelines, as we continue to grow we wanted to have more visibility as well as giving our members more choice and options when interacting with us.

Bristol Airport Spotting Facebook Group

This was a hard decision for us to make but based on user feedback and keeping in line with other aviation related groups we felt this was the sensible way forward for the BAS community.

To join the new group please head over to – https://www.facebook.com/groups/bristolspotting/ and click Join, one of the admin team will approve your membership and you will then be able to post, read and view our posts and other members posts. We look forward to welcoming you.

BMI Regional launch new flights to Jersey

BMI regional is expanding its Bristol flight network to add a new seasonal route to the island of Jersey beginning on 16th July and finishing on 3rd September. Flights depart at 12.30pm and arrive at 13:15pm returning from Jersey at 13:45pm and arriving back at Bristol at 14:30pm.

Commenting on the new route Jochen Schnadt said: “Bristol is a major UK hub for us with our existing routes performing well both with business and leisure customers. With our stated ambition to offer relevant products for our customers trying to evolve our product offering in line with our many loyal customers’ demands, we are delighted to be offering these seasonal service on this highly sought-after route. As customary with bmi regional, our customers will experience the usual quality, professionalism and high level of service that travellers on our existing routes have enjoyed for years.”

The launch follows on from a busy year for the airline in Bristol. bmi regional has enforced links with the airport and local businesses including a three year partnership with Bath Rugby. On 7 May, bmi regional will be throwing 50 balls into the air at a Bath Rugby match, with eight containing winning tickets to travel with the airline.

bmi regional also recently increased its rotations and improved flight times on its existing routes out of Bristol. The airline currently operates seven routes from Bristol to Aberdeen, Paris, Milan, Munich, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. Codeshares with Lufthansa and the airline’s own existing inter-European routes also means that passengers from the south-west can use Bristol as a gateway to hundreds of worldwide destinations.

Rare French Air Force A310 visits Bristol Airport

It was an early start for many spotters on Sunday 24th April 2016 as overnight news that a French Air Force Airbus A310 was visiting Bristol Airport ensured many spotters and members were at the airport early enough for its arrival as well as making for great photo opportunities of such a rare aircraft to visit the airport.

The Airbus A310 F-RADC aircraft was picking up French troops from an exercise and taking them back to Toulon, France. The previous day the same aircraft had arrived at Newquay which we believe to be doing a similar role.

Once again Winters Lane was very busy with spotters and military spotters who don’t often visit the airport but turned out today for such a rare visitor, many spotters commented that is was so nice to see a wide body aircraft at the airport again, and being an A310 becoming more and more rare globally.

To ensure you stay up to date with announcements and news please ensure you follow us on Twitter, Facebook or signup to our Newsletter mailing list, all of which can be found on our website – www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk

Photos of French Air Force A310:-

First ever 787 lands at Bristol Airport

On Tuesday 19th April 2016 Bristol Airport welcomed the arrival of the first ever Boeing 787-8 aircraft from Thomson, the aircraft was visiting the airport on trials and to launch new services from the airport in Summer 2017 to Mexico and Orlando.

At 11:10am Boeing 787-8 G-TUIB named ‘Alfie’ landed at Bristol Airport and was welcomed by a large amount of spotters on Winters Lane, the last time the lane was that busy was for the rugby world cup charter flights, one of the videos below show Winters Lane and how busy it got on the day. The team from Bristol Airport Spotting were invited by Bristol Airport to be airside for the arrival of the aircraft which was both an honour and a privilege. We were able to take very close up photos of the aircraft landing, taxiing and arriving on stand.

As part of the day we were also invited onboard to see the cabin and flight deck as well as talk to the Captains onboard who regularly fly the 787 Dreamliner. Being able to see the flight deck on this fairly new aircraft was a nice moment for myself being a student pilot and comparing the differences of other aircraft in the fleet.

The Boeing 787 aircraft will start services from Bristol Airport in May 2017 to Cancun and Sanford on Saturdays and Sundays, the 787 aircraft will not be based at Bristol Airport but we are hoping over the years more destinations are added and eventually an aircraft will be based here.

Both myself (Simon) and Callum would like to thank the airport for their generoisty and for inviting us airside on this historical day for the airport and Thomson.

Please see the gallery of photos below, below the photos are some videos taken and permission given to use in this article on our website.

Boeing 787 arrives at Bristol Airport:-

 

BAS visit Gatwick Aviation Fair

On Sunday 19th April 2016, Bristol Airport Spotting took a trip down to London Gatwick Airport to visit the Gatwick Aviation Fair held in a leisure centre a few miles from the airport, the fair is one of the largest aviation fairs in Europe and includes exhibitors from across the UK and Europe selling aviation models, DVDs, books, clothing, photos, postcards, memorabilia, magazines – pretty much anything to do with aviation.

The idea of the visit to the fair was to build some more interest in the upcoming aviation fair at Bristol Airport, we managed to speak with a few of the exhibitors who were very interested in visiting or exhibiting at the fair in September 2016 and so we are now working with them to hopefully get even more exhibitors to this years fair. It also allowed us to view another fair to get some potential ideas for change and improvement.

The Gatwick fair was very large and attracts alot of stalls and visitors, being located in the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley there was plenty of room for everyone, unfortunately we do not have that amount of space for the Bristol Aviation fair but with this years fair being on 2 levels we will try our best to make the event bigger and better than previous years.

The Gatwick aviation fair has been running for 27 years and I would like to say a massive congratulations to the organisers for keeping going and organising a great event.

Some photos from the Gatwick fair:-

IMG_2158 IMG_2159 IMG_2160

New partnership with SpottingLog

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with SpottingLog a web based aircraft spotting log database, the partnership will allow information on aircraft, aircraft types, registrations and spotters to be displayed on the Bristol Airport Spotting website, this information forms a new section called Logs which will build into a very useful library of aircraft seen at Bristol Airport.

Since our launch a few years back we often get asked by members if we have a log feature or information on an aircraft recently visited, as long as someone has logged it into SpottingLog we will know about it and be able to provide information where necessary, as the data grows and builds we will be able to adapt and use the stored information for a variety of uses. We are always looking at ways to improve and enhance our website and this is just one stage of this, we are also one of the first airport enthusiasts websites to offer this feature.

We would like to encourage our members to head over to SpottingLog – www.spottinglog.com and take a look for yourselves by registering an account and start to log aircraft not only seen at Bristol Airport but any airport in the world. If you have any questions or problems with this new feature please let us know. We look forward to seeing your registration logs.

Screenshots of SpottingLog in use:-

Spotting-Trips Sample-Sighting My-Profile SpottingLog

Wow Air inaugural flight to Bristol Airport

On Friday 13th May 2016 at approximately 10am the first flight by Wow Air will arrive at Bristol Airport from Keflavik, this marks the start of a new service between Bristol Airport and Iceland with further flights onto various destinations across America, aircraft operating the route will either be Airbus A320 or Airbus A321 and will provide spotters and enthusiasts some new interest at the airport, the exact aircraft will be known nearer the time, we have created an event on Facebook to get the community together for this event to both mark the occasion and get members of BAS together, if you are coming along please show your support on our event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/260245374309149/

easyJet launches new flights to Venice and Nantes

easyJet celebrated the inaugural flights of two new routes from Bristol Airport to Venice and Nantes, with passengers being welcomed on board with chocolates to jointly mark the Easter period.

The airline’s first flight from Bristol to Venice Marco Polo took-off on Wednesday afternoon (23 March) and flights to Nantes commenced on Thursday (24 March), with hundreds of passengers jetting off to the new destinations for their Easter holidays. Both routes combined are expected to carry around 70,000 tourists in and out of Bristol Airport each year.

The airline last month opened its 27th base in Venice as part of its growth strategy in Italy. As part of the base opening, easyJet unveiled an aircraft with a special livery featuring one of Venice’s iconic gondolas that will help to promote the city across the 32 countries easyJet flies to.

New rare aircraft system launched

We have recently launched a new rare aircraft database on our website, along with our regular updates on social media we are gradually building up a database of rare aircraft that have visited or will be visiting Bristol Airport and entering them into the website, any flight not usually seen on the flight schedules we class as a rare aircraft, currently there are 22 entries in the database but that will grow each week as more aircraft visit the airport. Future developments will be added to the system to include past rare aircraft, rare aircraft photo gallery and an email alert system to registered members. we will be asking friends and followers of BAS to get involved and help us where they can to populate this system further.

To view the database please head over to – https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/information/rare-aircraft/, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get announcements and alerts to visiting aircraft.

Upcoming Social Evenings at Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club

Bristol Airport Spotting in conjunction with Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club are organising a series of social evenings over the coming months, the evenings will include a talk from aviation related guests including airport personnel, chief pilots, aviation stunts and more. A previous event received a great turnout from spotters, enthusiasts, pilots and aviation fans. During the evening food and drink will be available along with a quiz night for tables of approximately 4 people. We also invite attendees to submit some photos new and old of aircraft at Bristol Airport that can be shown during the course of the evening.

Upcoming events include:

Doors open to all events at 18:00pm with the evening starting at 18:30pm, usually the event finishes around 22:00 to 22:30pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

Read more about the Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club.

Show Your Support for Bristol Airport when it comes to devolution of APD to Wales

The South West economy is set to lose £843 million and 1,569 jobs if the power to set Air Passenger Duty (APD) is devolved to the Welsh Government, according to figures released today.

Launching its campaign for “A Fair Flight For The South West”, Bristol Airport has published a report highlighting the risks to the South West economy of APD devolution to Wales – something that the Chancellor is likely to announce at this year’s Budget on 16th March.

The risks of APD devolution to Wales include:

  • The loss of £843 million in gross value added (GVA) from the West of England economy over the next decade.
  • The loss of 1,569 jobs in the West of England over the next decade.
  • The likely loss of almost a third of Bristol Airport’s existing air routes, and long-haul routes expected to be launched soon, reducing choice for passengers from the region, air access for overseas visitors, and trade links for the local economy.
  • A 25% drop in passengers travelling from Bristol Airport by 2020 – seriously damaging a regional business which generates almost £400m in GVA and supports 11,000 jobs for the regional economy.

Dr Liam Fox, local MP, says: “The South West is set to lose out massively if this tax on flying is devolved to Wales. The toxic combination of less consumer choice, job losses and reduced economic activity is simply not acceptable and I am today calling on the Government to halt this measure.”

James Durie Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce at Business West, says: “Bristol Airport plays an increasingly important role in the regional economy of the South West. We have the best performing economy outside of London and ambitious plans to grow. A critical part of this is excellent air connectivity to international markets for trade and commerce. Unilateral devolution of this tax to Wales would substantially undermine and damage this. We are supportive of the devolution of power from Westminster but it must be based on terms that will grow UK plc not just transfer activity across boundaries. The Government must properly recognise the economic dangers of unintended consequences for neighbouring regions.”

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive of Bristol Airport, says: “If this tax is devolved to Wales and scrapped, we will be put at a significant commercial disadvantage to Cardiff Airport, which is owned by the Welsh Government and less than 100km away from Bristol Airport. Even if limited to long-haul flights, there would be a significant impact on more than 100,000 passengers who use European hubs and it would jeopardise plans to launch direct long-haul flights in the near future.

“We expect competition in the aviation industry, but that competition needs to be on a level playing field. Distorting this market will mean less choice and increased costs for people in the South West when going on holiday or doing business overseas.”

West Terminal Extension Takes Shape

A ‘topping out’ ceremony was held on the 27th January 2016 to mark a key milestone in the construction of Bristol Airport’s west terminal extension. The celebration – a longstanding tradition in the construction industry – followed the completion of the steelwork for the £24 million structure.

To mark the occasion guests from the design team, (architects, structural engineers, M&E engineers) and main contractor, Balfour Beatty, joined Bristol Airport’s Chief Executive Officer and senior management team to view the extension’s highest point.

The west terminal extension is Bristol Airport’s single biggest investment project since the terminal building opened in March 2000. Once completed later this year it will transform the security search process for passengers, as well as creating an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities, arrivals retail, and meet and greet area.

The new security search facility will house 10 customer channels, a dedicated Fast Track zone, an enlarged area in which customers can prepare for search in a more comfortable and relaxed environment, and significantly longer 21 metre security lanes. The combination of design, space and new technology is expected to deliver an industry-leading passenger experience.

The 9,000 square metre facility will be opened in three phases following a 14 month construction build, involving over 200 people working on site. Phase one will open in summer 2016, closely followed by phase two and three, with the entire project completed before the end of 2016.

Wizz Airs first flight from Sofia to Bristol

Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, started operating its new service from Sofia to Bristol, U.K in January 2016. The twice-weekly service will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays.

Together with the recently announced Sofia – Birmingham route commencing on 28 March, there is a total of three low-fare WIZZ services between Sofia and the United Kingdom.

Bristol is one of the U.K.’s most popular tourist destinations, with two universities and a variety of artistic and sporting organizations and venues.

With the new route, Wizz Air offers 32 routes to 16 countries from three Bulgarian airports: Sofia, Bourgas and Varna.

Royal opening of Bristol Airport Terminal Extension

The 17th December 2015 marked a major milestone and special occasion for Bristol Airport when Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened a multi-million pound terminal extension.

This is not the first time Her Royal Highness has visited the Airport, having officially opened the terminal building back in March 2000. That year just 2.2 million passengers passed through the new facility. Annual throughput has since increased to an expected 6.7 million in 2015, highlighting the development opening.

The major terminal extension follows a 12 month build programme and £8.6 million investment. The development provides a significantly enlarged departure lounge featuring hundreds of additional seats as well several retail and catering brands and a second executive lounge. A stand-out feature is an outdoor rooftop terrace area with views of arriving and departing aircraft, including bar and restaurant seating under a retractable roof.

Design features of the terminal extension include finishes, colours and textures taking inspiration from the Airport’s local area. The use of timber and reeds alongside interior planting reflect the region’s natural beauty, while a striking lighting feature makes use of Bristol’s iconic blue glass to dramatic effect, with the glass chandelier sculpted in the shape of the River Avon flowing through the city.

During the visit and tour of the terminal Her Royal Highness met key stakeholders, representatives of the local community, business partners and staff. To add a festive spirit to the event, pupils from Wrington Primary and Winford Primary Schools sang traditional Christmas carols in the main check-in area.

One of the first stopping points on the tour showcased work already underway on a second terminal extension, to the western end of the main building. This £24 million project, the largest since the terminal opened in March 2000, will transform the security search process for passengers when it opens in summer 2016, as well as creating an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities, arrivals retail, and meet and greet area. Once completed next year, this will take the total investment in infrastructure at Bristol Airport since 2010 to over £120 million.

Work has also commenced on the construction of a 201 room Hampton by Hilton hotel set to be completed in 2016.

New airline to operate from Bristol Airport

A new airline known as WOW air is to start operating from Bristol Airport in 2016 and Bristol is to become WOW air’s second UK departure point for flights to Iceland and North America. Flights will depart Bristol Airport for the airline’s hub in Reykjavik on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Passengers travelling through will then have a short stopover before continuing on to one of the airline’s North American destinations – Boston, Washington D.C., Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Airbus A320 aircraft will operate the Bristol to Reykjavik flight with single-class A321 and A330-300 aircraft operating the routes between Iceland and North America. Standard seat pitch is 30 inches with the option to increase this to 34 inches on the North American legs of the journey for an additional charge.

Flight Schedules:

  • WW830
    • KEF – BRS
    • Mon, Wed, Fri
    • 06:20 – 09:10 UTC / 06:20 – 10:10 Local
  • WW831
    • BRS – KEF
    • Mon, Wed, Fri
    • 11:00 – 14:00 UTC / 12:00 – 14:00 Local

Find out more by visiting their website at www.wowair.co.uk

Christmas colourscheme for Thomson 757

Keep an eye out at Bristol Airport for a Thomson Airways Boeing 757 that has been painted in a fun Christmas livery including antlers, holly and Merry Christmas titles. The aircraft registration G-OOBE may well visit the airport between now and Christmas and we will certainly look forward to seeing it and capturing some photos which will be shared on here and our social media channels.

Keep up to date with news and announcements

Over the coming weeks we will be making some exciting announcements regarding BAS and some projects we will be involved with, to be sure you stay up to date and will be included in the news please make sure you sign up to our newsletter, its quick and completely free and will ensure you won’t miss out on anything, to register click the ‘Newsletter Signup’ tab above or visit https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/signup/. We will not spam your email address and will only be used for BAS related information.

easyJet adds 13th aircraft to Bristol base

It has been announced that from summer 2016 there will be up to 13 easyJet aircraft based at Bristol Airport to cater for extra demand from its passengers across the South West and Wales, enabling the airline to fly to even more destinations, the announcement comes following easyJet’s full year results which were issued earlier today announcing the airline had delivered record profits and returns for the 12 months ended 30 September 2015.

 

Rugby World Cup charter flights at Bristol Airport

On Sunday 11th October 2015 Bristol Airport played host to a number of rugby world cup charter flights from various countries around Europe and beyond bringing supporters to the games being held in Cardiff. The spotting areas on Winters Lane and Felton Common saw a record number of spotters from very early in the morning until late, parking space was non existent and many members from BAS were able to meet and be introduced to other members which is one of our core aims of the organisation.

This was a rare day at the airport that normally happens every few years, over the course of the few days the following airlines and aircraft visited Bristol Airport:

  • Air Contractors – Boeing 737
  • Avantiair – Fokker 100
  • Air Dolomiti – Embraer 195
  • Jota Aviation – Bae 146 / RJ
  • Europe Airpost – Boeing 737
  • Transavia – Boeing 737
  • Volotea – Boeing 717
  • AerLingus – Airbus A320
  • Titan Airways – Boeing 757
  • Carpatair – Fokker 100
  • Go2Sky – Boeing 737
  • Aigle Azur – Airbus A320

Images and Video from the Day

 

Second charity aviation fair at Bristol Airport a great success

On Sunday 20th September 2015 a second charity aviation fair was held in the administration building at Bristol Airport, the event was organised by Bristol based aviation enthusiast Simon Fewkes the founder of Bristol Airport Spotting the organisation behind the fair.

The fair is the second of its kind to happen at the airport and attracted over 440 visitors during the opening times of 10.30am and 4.30pm with visitors young and old including families, individuals, groups and enthusiasts.

Visitors to the fair were able to watch aircraft land, taxi and depart very close to the room where the event was taking place; this gave visitors a very rare opportunity to get up close to the action. This year’s fair attracted a larger number of exhibitors and over 23 tables were occupied by companies and organisations from the aviation world, items for sale included postcards, airline amenity kits, model kits, plastic and metal model aircraft and framed photographs.

Exhibitions from the Bristol Aero Collection, Bristol Airport Police, Fly2Help and South West Aviation Photographers provided interesting information on local projects and organisations that visitors can be part of and get involved in.

Entry fees this year were £1.50 for adults and free for children, all proceeds going to the airport charity of the year Children’s Hospice South West. The fair raised a total of £563.00 through entrance fees and donations for the charity, officials from the airport were very impressed with the money raised and the attendance of the event by the public which shows what a great interest there is for aviation in Bristol and at Bristol Airport.

Another aviation fair is planned for 2016 and details of this will be announced and posted on social media and through the www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk website.

Lima India Tango Tango Echo Romeo

Following a meeting with Bristol Airport we are helping to support them with the launch of a new campaign to help target the litter problem along Winters Lane, Felton Common and other viewing areas around the airport, the new project is known as Lima India Tango Tango Echo Romeo phonetically Litter. Signs will be going up to help remind people about litter and what they should do with it, the LITTER posters will also be on display at this years Aviation Fair, we are asking all BAS members and followers to help the airport by keeping an eye out for litter and either letting us or Bristol Airport know. We can all work together to make the viewing areas a better place for the enthusiasts and local community.

Litter poster

Announcing Aviation Fair 2015

Following the overwhelming success of the Aviation Fair in 2014 Bristol Airport Spotting are hosting another Aviation Fair in partnership with Bristol Airport on Sunday 20th September 2015 between 10.30am and 4.30pm in aid of the airport charity of the year which this year is Children’s Hospice South West.

The event will take place within the Bristol Room which is located in the airport administration building, or as some will know the old terminal.  Plenty of free car parking will be available on the day along with refreshments in the newly refurbished cafeteria. Entry to the fair is £1.50 for adults and free for children, all proceeds from admission going to charity.

The Bristol Room has great views across the apron of aircraft departing, arriving and taxiing just a short distance from the windows, ample seating will be available to sit and watch the activity. This year we have a large amount of exhibitors coming along to the fair, visitors to the fair this year can expect to see Bristol Aero Collection, miniature Bristol Airport project, IPMS Avon model club, T7 Models, Fly2Help aviation charity, Aviation Postcard Man, Bristol Airport Police and South West Aviation Photographers to name but a few.

This years aviation fair is expected to be bigger and better and is the perfect day for families, enthusiasts or individuals wishing to spend their Sunday learning more about the airport, seeing it in action and browsing the wide range of exhibitors on display. Also available this year will be live information on aircraft activity, colouring for the children and Bristol Airport Spotting branded items for sale.

For more information and directions to the event please visit – https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/bas-events/aviation-fair-2015/

Register your interest in attending the fair by joining the event on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/478020752355707/

Update from Bristol Airport Police Summer 2015

On the positive side Bristol Airport continues to expand with more passengers, more airlines and more routes. As you will all know from the news the international security situation is still worrying but we are still concentrating on keeping the airport safe for staff, passengers and visitors.

We are already planning for the Rugby World Cup matches in Cardiff this autumn and I will soon be having my first meetings in relation to Euro 2016. As I type this, Wales has not yet qualified. I am assuming that they will get though and I know that the airport would welcome any Welsh fans who need to get to France next year.

Please can I ask the spotters to continue to be vigilant? Security at the airport is a team effort and the police cannot do it alone. Your support is much appreciated.

Finally, we hope to meet as many of you as possible on Sunday 20th for the Aviation Fair. Please come along and meet the team.

Barney Gardom

Busiest ever month at Bristol Airport

Passenger numbers at Bristol Airport have topped three quarters of a million during a single calendar month for the first time, with a total of 768,587* passing through the terminal this August – up six per cent over the previous year.
Growth is the result of the enhanced flight and holiday programmes on offer this summer from the ‘big two’ tour operators – Thomas Cook and TUI Group (which operates the Thomson and First Choice brands) – as well as a raft of new services from scheduled airlines and increased load factors across all sectors (meaning flights are operating with more passengers on board).

Thomson Airways added a third aircraft to its Bristol-based fleet in May, opening up new destinations including Dubrovnik, Pula and Santorini, while Thomas Cook operates two Airbus A321s to a total of 20 destinations from the Airport. New easyJet flights to Bilbao, Isle of Man, Porto, Gibraltar, Lanzarote, Catania and Zante all commenced earlier this year. Wizz Air also entered the South West market for the first time in June, launching twice weekly flights to Katowice in Poland.

Inbound traffic also received a boost recently with the high profile opening of Banksy’s Dismaland in nearby Weston-super-Mare. This is expected to attract visitors on scheduled services from across the UK and Europe, as well as private charter flights from further afield.

An enlarged departure lounge opened in July to help meet this growing demand, and work is already underway on a second major extension to the terminal building which will deliver significant improvements to the security search and arrivals areas next year.

Bristol Airport welcomes Wizz Air’s expansion

Wizz Air announced this morning it will expand its route network from Bristol Airport and will commence a new scheduled service to Sofia, Bulgaria. Starting from 28 March 2016, flights will operate twice a week on a Thursday and Sunday.

This new direct scheduled service will bring the total number of capital cities served by Bristol Airport to 17.

Sofia is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria and one of the oldest in Europe. Itlies at the foot of popular ski mountain, Vitosha,an ideal location for a winter skiing holiday.With its rich cultural history and cobblestone boulevards it offers a great summer vacation option and is an all year-round destination.

Weed Clearing on Winters Lane

On Sunday 2nd August founder Simon Fewkes and some members of Bristol Airport Spotting met at Winters Lane to tackle the overgrown weeds, bushes and trees that were making viewing the runway difficult, after 2 hours of cutting, trimming and chopped along with stings, cuts, grazes and thorns we had managed to clear a 40 metre stretch of weeds and growth that now allows clear unobstructed views, some photos taken during and after the work clearly shows the extent of the work completed, a massive thanks to Gary Morris and Kevin Slade for their help. After this work it allowed room to put up a few posters advertising this years Aviation Fair.

Some photos during and after the work on Winters Lane:

Bristol Airport Spotting announce Aviation Fair 2015

We are pleased to announce that following the immense success of last years Aviation Fair we are organising and planning another aviation fair for 2015, the fair will be held on September 20th between 10.30am and 4.30pm in the Bristol Room at the Admin Building/Old Terminal. We hope to build on last years fair and make this years bigger and better with more facilities, more exhibitors and more fun, news and updates on the fair will be posted on our dedicated pages as below:

https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/bas-events/aviation-fair-2015/

https://www.facebook.com/events/478020752355707/

aviation-fair-poster-2015

Wizz Air touches down at Bristol Airport

On Friday 26th June at 8.20am the first Wizzair flight to Bristol Airport touched down, the flight operated by an Airbus A320 HA-LYK included a full passenger load, shortly after at 8.50am the flight took off again heading back to Katowice in Poland, this starts a new twice weekly service to the airport and is a welcome addition to the airlines already based at the airport. Wizz Air is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Katowice service makes Bristol the 106th airport in its route network. Flights will operate every Monday and Friday.

Below are some photos and videos kindly produced by the airport and from Simon Fewkes of Bristol Airport Spotting.

East Terminal extension opens to passengers

The first of two major extensions to Bristol Airport’s terminal opened to passengers today following a 12 month build programme and £8.6million investment.

At the heart of the east terminal extension is a significantly enlarged departure lounge featuring hundreds of additional seats as well several retail and catering brands new to Bristol Airport.

A stand-out feature of the new development is an outdoor terrace area with views of arriving and departing aircraft, including bar and restaurant seating under a retractable roof.

New shops include the leading sports retailer, JD Sports, and popular fashion outlet, Accessorize, while the new Traveller store brings a range of major clothing brands under one roof, including Superdry, Gant, Barbour, Boss Green and Joules. Claire’s Accessories returns after a brief closure during the construction period, and Superdrug, WHSmith and The Bookshop at WHSmith have moved to new, improved units in the enlarged departure lounge.

Outdoor space can also be accessed by those not dining, with a rooftop garden featuring quirky sculptures expected to prove popular. Along with a second executive lounge, this will open as part of phase two within a few weeks’ time.

The open air terrace is not the only feature intended to make the new look departure lounge stand out from the crowd. The terminal extension has been designed to capture the essence of the South West, with finishes, colours and textures taking inspiration from the Airport’s locale. The use of timber and reeds alongside interior planting nod to the region’s natural beauty, while a striking lighting feature makes use of Bristol’s iconic blue glass to dramatic effect.

New West terminal extension announced

With only weeks remaining until the opening of the east terminal extension, Bristol Airport has signed off the next major phase of its expansion programme – a £24 million west terminal extension which will transform the security search process for passengers. This is the biggest construction project at the Airport since the current terminal building opened in 2000.

As part of the second major extension to the terminal, state-of-the-art technology will be introduced to a significantly enlarged security area in order to deliver a faster, more efficient experience. The 9,000 square metre structure is approximately two and half times larger than the £8.5m east terminal extension set to be completed next month and will also create an enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities, arrivals retail, and meet and greet area, easing congestion and improving services for arriving passengers.

Work on the west terminal extension will get underway in a matter of weeks and is scheduled to open in summer 2016. When completed it will house 10 lanes in the central search area alongside two additional security channels in a dedicated Fast Track zone. An enlarged preparation area and significantly longer 21 metre lanes will enable more passengers to prepare for inspection simultaneously, reducing wait times and raising customer service standards.

Bristol Airport is in discussion with security technology providers to ensure the new facility maximises the use of state-of-the-art equipment. The combination of space, a more streamlined process and the latest generation of security technology is expected to deliver an industry-leading passenger experience.

As well as delivering immediate benefits to arriving and departing passengers, construction of the west terminal extension will also create space for future improvements to immigration facilities, enabling another bottleneck at busy times to be addressed.

Thomson base more aircraft at Bristol Airport

This week Thomson and First Choice added another aircraft to their fleet at Bristol bringing the total operating from the South West’s biggest airport to three.

The enhanced fleet will operate the largest ever Thomson and First Choice flight programme and holidays available from Bristol Airport.

With the addition of the third aircraft, four new routes will be added to the network – Santorini and Thessaloniki in Greece, plus Pula and Dubrovnik in Croatia. It will also provide additional seats to Zante, Crete and Ibiza.

As well as this year’s additional destinations, this commitment by Thomson and First Choice will also result in three new summer routes in 2016 – Catania in Italy, Hurghada in Egypt, and Sal in Cape Verde.

The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s leading holiday company’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations.

New website for Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport have today launched a new website for Bristol Airport today offering an updated look that integrates new features and a consistent, seamless experience to customers on desktop, mobile or tablet.

The new site is to help shape and support Bristol Airport’s online strategy and provide strategic leadership to support the organisation’s digital ambitions, showcasing its new facilities and growing network of 100+ destinations.

One of the core outputs of the digital strategy was the need to redevelop the main site and mobile sites into one responsive solution. There were a number of specific challenges for this new solution, including making essential flight information easily accessible across all platforms, making it easier to book car parking and other ancillary products from mobile devices, and creating awareness of enhanced airport facilities and the wide range of destinations available.

Providing quick, seamless navigation across all platforms and devices was a key consideration in showcasing Bristol Airport’s commitment to consistently enhance the travelling experience for airport passengers.

bmi Regional adds more flights to Paris and Dusseldorf

The eagerly awaited new all-jet flights to Paris Charles De Gaulle and Düsseldorf from Bristol Airport operated by bmi regional take off today, Monday 27 April.

The Bristol to Paris service will operate six days a week, with two flights a day Monday to Friday, and one flight on Sunday. Bristol-Düsseldorf will fly six times a week, Sunday to Friday.

The flights bring the number of Bristol routes served by bmi regional to eight, alongside Aberdeen, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan and Nantes* in France.

Bristol Airport main terminal passes a 15 year milestone

Fifteen years after it was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal, the first major expansion to Bristol Airport’s terminal is nearing completion.

The terminal building welcomed its first flights on 7 March 2000 after a two year build programme costing £27 million. In the first year following its opening the terminal handled just over 2 million passengers, compared to 6.3 million per annum today. Fifteen years on work is underway on an £8.6 million extension to the east of the building which, when it opens this summer, will create additional seating in the departure lounge, as well as extending the range of retail and catering facilities for passengers, including an eye-catching outdoor terrace area.

When it opened on its original site in Whitchurch, Bristol Airport became only the third civil airport in the country. Since moving to its current location in North Somerset in 1957, Bristol has developed into one of the UK’s most successful regional airports, and the country’s fifth largest airport outside London.

Several of the team involved in the transition to the newly built terminal in 2000 are still involved today. Head of Commercial Development, Kate Ridgers, is now working with existing and potential retailers to identify opportunities in the eastern terminal extension, but back in 2000 she was in charge of the transition of airport operations to the new building as New Terminal Logistics Manager.

“My main role was to manage the transfer of the airport operation from the existing terminal, now our Administration and Security Building, to the new terminal,” she recalls.
“This involved working very closely with all of our business partners from ground handling agents to security, immigration and customs. Before we opened the new terminal, I organised a ‘trial flight’ to fully test the building before we opened the doors to passengers.

Friends and family of staff members arrived at the terminal with boarding cards and suitcases and got to experience the new terminal before anyone else, including testing all of the catering outlets.

“The overnight transfer itself was one of my career highlights and a night I will never forget – seeing the last flight of the day depart from one terminal and the first flight on the following day depart from another terminal was very exciting. The transfer was organised with military precision!”

Chris Ware, now Bristol Airport’s in-house Head of Security, was an Inspector in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary back in 2000, responsible for planning major events including royal visits.

“The security challenges were very different then,” remembers Chris. “The main threats were still connected to the troubles in Northern Ireland and as the terminal was a building site until a few days before the visit of Princess Anne, the security operation was particularly challenging.

“As the event was so high profile and media interest was intense, the logistics of the opening ceremony were complex. Coordination was managed between the Police team, the Airport and the Lord Lieutenant’s office on behalf of Buckingham Palace. The striking memory for me was the total pride and excitement all of the staff working at the Airport had in their new building and the opportunities it would open up. The combination of aviation, an exciting new building and inspirational people was infectious but little did I realise that Bristol Airport would feature so much in my future working life.”

Fifteen years later, Chris is focused on planning a new security search area as part of the anticipated next phase of development which will see the terminal extended to the west.

The current development work is part of overall plans to enhance facilities to enable Bristol Airport to serve 10 million passengers a year. Other major components include a new multi-level car park with public transport interchange on its top level, and an on-site hotel which is expected to open in spring 2016.

Beyond the Airport boundary, improvements to the transport system across the West of England, including the construction of a South Bristol Link, are underway and will enhance access from the north, east and west once completed.

Earlier this year, Bristol was named the world’s most punctual Airport in a league table measuring on-time performance compiled by leading global aviation provider OAG based on more than 43 million flight records.

Roadworks at Bristol Airport

Highway improvement works are due to start next week near Bristol Airport. The £1.1m works are being funded by the airport as part of a planning agreement with North Somerset Council.

They include the installation of traffic lights at the Downside Road junction with the A38, with a banned right turn into Downside Road. A dedicated left turn will be introduced into Downside Road on the north approach from the A38. The existing footbridge over the A38 will be removed as the traffic lights will include a pedestrian phase.

The works will also include improvements to the A38/airport entrance roundabout. The roundabout will be increased in size and all approaches and exits will be widened. Resurfacing of a section of the highway verge in Winters Lane will also take place to create a layby at an area already used by plane enthusiasts.

The works start on Monday 23 February and will take about three months to complete. To minimise disruption, they will be carried out mainly at night between 8pm and 4am, Monday to Friday. Temporary traffic lights will be required during the night works, but these will be taken down between 4am and 8pm. For safety reasons the removal of the footbridge will require two night time closures of the A38 on Friday and Saturday 20 and 21 March. Diversions will be in place on these two nights.

Passengers using the airport are advised to allow extra travel time during the improvement works, especially if arriving for an early morning check-in. On the two nights of the footbridge removal works, an alternative route will be available and diversion signs will be in place. Passengers and staff will be able to access the airport terminal and car parks at all times.

New Year message from Inspector Barney Gardom of the Bristol Airport Police

The airport has been busy over the last months. You will probably have noticed that that the airport has been like a continuous building site. The Central Walkway was completed in the summer and within weeks work started on the eastern extension to the main terminal. Contractors are now building a hotel in the car park. The airport managers are always keen to attract new airlines and this can only help their efforts.

The NATO conference in Wales kept us very busy in early September. We saw state aircraft from Armenia, Poland, Ukraine, Portugal and many other countries. I hope that some of you had a chance to get some decent pictures. We had police officers from London, Sussex, Cleveland and Scotland to help with the security plan which turned out to be one of the largest operations in the history of policing. I do not believe that Bristol Airport will see anything on this scale for many years.

Many of you will have seen airport police officers on their perimeter patrol. If you have any questions then you are welcome to flag them down and speak to them. They are all very approachable and more than happy to chat.

Barney Gardom
www.avonandsomerset.police.uk

Aviation Fair featured in Bristol Airport Magazine

It has been four months since our first Aviation Fair back in September 2014 but the fantastic event certainly hasn’t been forgotten and has made it into Bristol Airport’s own magazine “Your Airport” which was sent out to all employees and commercial partners within the airport.

Simon was sent a copy of the magazine and the photo below shows the article as printed, click on the image to see a larger version if required.

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Winters Lane improvements

We have just been informed by Bristol Airport will be re-surfacing the existing lay-by on Winters Lane in addition to improving the drainage. This forms part of their Section 278 works which was agreed with North Somerset Council during the determination of the outline planning application in 2010/2011. They anticipate that these works will be taking place at some point between February and May 2015. They are to be undertaken with additional roadworks on the A38 and Airport Roundabout and they do not have a definitive programme as yet.

More information can be found on the North Somerset Council website.

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Thomson and First Choice announce new routes for 2015

Thomson and First Choice add new routes and increase capacity from Bristol Airport

Thomson and First Choice are pleased to announce that in winter 2015/16 they will be adding capacity at Bristol Airport through the introduction of new routes to Sal in Cape Verde, Hurghada in Egypt and Paphos, Cyprus.

The new route on Thomson Airways to Paphos will capitalise on the popularity of Cyprus and allow customers from Bristol and the local area to make the most of Thomson Cruises’ exclusive Cruise & Stay programmes in the region, which includes calls at Ashdod, Israel (for Jerusalem and Bethlehem) and Athens, Greece.

Thomson and First Choice have also announced that, in winter 2015/16, the popular Fuerteventura flight will now operate on a Saturday allowing holidaymakers to maximize their time in the sun with as few days annual leave as possible.

Wizz Air to fly from Bristol Airport

A new airline will be flying from Bristol Airport next year following Wizz Air’s announcement that it will operate a twice-weekly service to Katowice from 26 June 2015.

Wizz Air is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Katowice service makes Bristol the 106th airport in its route network. Flights will operate every Monday and Friday.

Katowice is the principal city of the Upper Silesian region of Poland and is a centre for science and industry, as well as being home to an eclectic mix of architectural styles with Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings alongside Modernist structures from the Communist era, and a neo-Classical cathedral which is the largest in Poland.

As well as making an interesting city break destination for visitors from the UK, the Wizz Air service will provide a convenient link for Poles from the region living and working in the South West.

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Boxkite to Concorde 100 Years of Bristol Aircraft

If you are looking for a last minute pressie Peter March a local author has kindly donated a number of hard back books titled Boxkite to Concorde. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Macmillan. The book covers the story and history of one hundred years of Bristol aircraft in photos and text. Some of you may have met Peter, as he has a passion for aviation, written numerous books and flies a vintage Cessna.

Each book costs £5.00 with 100% of all proceeds being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, Bristol Airport’s charity of the year. Please contact Jacqui Mills on jmills@bristolairport.com if you would like to purchase a book/s. Obviously as it is a charity initiative we will not be able to send out the books to home addresses, so all books will need to be collected from the Administration Building, Bristol Airport.

easyJet continues expansion for 2015

easyJet has today announced a further three new routes to its growing portfolio. From April and May next year, the airline will start flying to Bilbao, Isle of Man and Zante from Bristol Airport. As part of easyJet’s expansion at Bristol, a twelfth aircraft will be located at the base in summer 2015.

The announcement follows easyJet’s October announcement of four additional new routes to Gibraltar, Porto, Lanzarote and Catania. In total, easyJet will add seven new destinations to its Bristol operations next summer as part of its five year agreement with Bristol Airport for continued growth.

The trio of new routes went on sale this morning at www.easyjet.com. More than 47,000 passengers are expected to fly on the three new routes in summer next year, and more than 115,000 on the seven new routes combined.

We also reported that easyJet has today announced its plans for four new routes from the airport to Lanzarote, Catania, Porto and Gibraltar from Summer 2015.

The new destinations follow easyJet’s five year agreement with Bristol Airport last winter to continue growth at the airport, and will result in an extra aircraft being located at the base. There will now be up to 12 easyJet aircraft based at the airport from Summer 2015.

SAS set to return in 2015

Great news for us spotters! Scandinavian Airlines has announced direct flights between Bristol and Stockholm for summer 2015, following a successful first summer season in 2014. Ideal for weekend breaks, twice weekly flights on Friday and Mondays will commence on 26 June and continue until 14 August, with prices starting from just £126 return, including all taxes and charges. Tickets are on sale now and those booking early will secure the lowest prices.

Flight schedules will be as follows:

Flight Dep. Arr. Day of the week
Bristol to Stockholm 09.20 12.50 Monday
Bristol to Stockholm 14.35 18.05 Friday
Stockholm to Bristol 07.10 08.40 Monday
Stockholm to Bristol 12.25 13.55 Friday

Our first newsletter has been sent out

We are pleased to announce that our first newsletter has been sent out to all of our newsletter subscribers, thanks go to Callum for designing and populating the first newsletter with a roundup of news, information and interesting aircraft due at the airport.

Earlier this month we reported that Bristol Airport Spotting are pleased to announce that we will be starting a new monthly News Letter service. Users can opt in to receive a PDF document every month, containing information on what has been going on over the past month at BRS. It will also include BAS news as well. The idea was first posted on the Facebook page and received a overwhelming positive response from followers. They also said that they would like it to be a PDF format. We will keep all the versions of the newsletter on our website, so you can go though and take a look at previous versions.

To get your newsletter please make sure you have subscribed by entering your email address into the box in the right hand bar.

Bristol Airport opens fire training facility

On Tuesday 7 October 2014 Bristol Airport’s Rescue and Fire-Fighting Service (RFFS) opened a new £950,000 fire-fighting training facility, situated on the south side of the Airport site.

Bristol Airport commissioned Simulation, a specialist fire training company, to provide a state-of-the-art fire training facility, comprising equipment simulating a Boeing 737, an R27 helicopter, and a villa complex. All built within the Airport’s dedicated fire training ground.

The aircraft, helicopter and villa complex can be used for numerous fire training scenarios whilst being controlled and monitored remotely. All of the equipment can be set alight using an eco-friendly LPG gas fuelled system. This enables a number of fire and rescue scenarios to be recreated using the aircraft, helicopter or building in any combination, encompassing all of the scenarios necessary for a dedicated airport fire team training to face any fire and rescue situation.

The new facility enables the RFFS team to maintain the high levels of competence and aviation training required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Our first Aviation Fair attracts hundreds

On Sunday 21st September 2014 an Aviation Fair was held at Bristol Airport in the old terminal which is now known as the administration building, this event was organised by Simon Fewkes, founder and owner of Bristol Airport Spotting, a website dedicated to providing information on aircraft and aviation at Bristol Airport.

The event was a great success attracting over 400 visitors between 10.30am and 4.30pm, visitors to the fair were from all age groups, from individual enthusiasts to families on a day out with children and relatives. Visitors to the fair were greeted by fantastic views across the apron and the ability to watch aircraft taxi, land and depart within a few feet from the windows in the Bristol Room, where the event was held.

Many exhibitors also turned up on the day selling aviation postcards, aircraft models, aviation books and DVDs and a local aircraft model club also attended with a brilliant display of hand made model aircraft from all eras, an amazing sight that had to be seen. Also at the fair were the airport police on hand to offer advice and guidance to visitors on aviation security and information to spotters who help to be the eyes and ears around the airport.

Entry fees were free for children and just £1 for adults, the money raised exceeded £350.00 which was donated to the airport charity of the year which this year is Macmillan Cancer Support. Representatives from the airport were very pleased with the amount of money raised and also impressed by the amount of interest the fair generated all helping to further raise the profile of the airport.

Further fairs are planned for 2015 and once a date has been decided this will be announced on social media and through the Bristol Airport Spotting website.

Increase in passenger numbers

Passenger numbers at Bristol Airport continue to soar, with nearly three quarters of a million (723,000) journeys made during August – the highest total for any month in the Airport’s history. August also included another milestone, with the busiest ever day recorded on Thursday the 14th, when a total of 25,390 passengers passed through the terminal in 24 hours.

This followed record-breaking figures for June and July, with growth of 3.2 per cent continuing the Airport’s return to pre-recession passenger numbers. With September’s total swelled by VIP arrivals for last week’s NATO Summit in South Wales, the annual total is expected to exceed the previous high of 6.2m in 2008.

Growth has been driven by the introduction of larger aircraft on existing services, high load factors during the holiday season, and the launch of routes to new destinations. For example, KLM increased capacity on its four-times daily Amsterdam service by 20 per cent, easyJet operated an eleventh Bristol-based aircraft throughout summer, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) commenced a seasonal service to Stockholm.

Further expansion at Bristol Airport

Within days of opening a £6.5m central walkway designed to ease congestion at peak travel times Bristol Airport has announced plans for an extension to its terminal building, with this latest development scheduled for completion by summer 2015.

The central walkway houses four pre-boarding zones serving six departure gates and has been designed to take into account the latest generation of twin-engine, wide-body jets, such as the Boeing 787, with provision made for the addition of an airbridge for passengers boarding potential long-haul flights in future. Completed in time for the busy summer holiday period, the central walkway will be officially opened by Robert Goodwill MP, the Aviation Minister, later this year.

Construction of an eastern terminal extension will begin in September. The £8.6m project – the first major expansion of the terminal building since it opened in 2000 – will be finished in summer 2015. The development is expected to attract exciting new retail brands to Bristol Airport as well as creating more space for existing retailers. It will also see the installation of hundreds of additional seats in the departure lounge and offers the potential for a second executive lounge facility. Behind the scenes, it will deliver an improved baggage processing area, while other features include an outdoor terrace for passengers waiting to board their flights.

Aviation Fair at Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport Spotting and Bristol Airport are pleased to announce an Aviation Fair in the admin building at Bristol Airport, the event will take place on Sunday 21st September 2014 in the Bristol Room, free parking is available and refreshments will be available to purchase on the day. You can expect amazing views across the apron and be able to watch aircraft takeoff, land and taxi past the room in very close proximity, there will also be items to buy and view model aircraft brought along for the show.

Entry will be £1 for adults and free for children, all proceeds will go towards the airport charity of the year Macmillan Cancer Relief. This is certainly an event not to be missed as the Bristol Room hasnt been opened to the general public for a number of years. We will have a complete webpage for the event on our website with directions, instructions and what to expect. If you would like to come along to the event show your support on our dedicated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/526622907439662/.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Click here to download the Aviation Fair psoter.

BMI Regional increases flights to Aberdeen

BMI Regional is boosting its Bristol to Aberdeen service to three times daily on Wednesday and Thursday from 3 September. The new service departs Bristol at 11.30am and arrives in Aberdeen at 12.50pm. Return departure from Aberdeen at 15.00pm, arriving into Bristol at 16.25pm.

The move is part of an increase in service on core commercial routes that also sees a boost to services linking East Midlands Airport and Brussels – to three times daily on Wednesday and Thursday, and a double-daily service four days a week between Karlstad in Sweden and Frankfurt, Germany. Make sure to be around to catch these great aircraft.

SAS launches from Bristol Airport

The first SAS flight from Stockholm to Bristol arrived today, the SAS service – the first direct link from the South West to the Swedish capital for five years – will operate twice a week (on Monday and Friday) until 15 August, using Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The schedule has been designed with long weekend leisure breaks in mind, and is expected to prove equally popular with UK and Swedish travellers alike. Bringing the stylish Swedish capital just a 1hr 40 minute flight away, prices start from just £75 one way, or from £126 return, including all taxes and charges.

Passengers on the inaugural Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flight between Stockholm and Bristol today were welcomed by costumed characters from the West of England’s history, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and a Georgian housekeeper posed for photos with delighted Swedes, representing two of the area’s most popular tourist attractions – Brunel’s SS Great Britain in Bristol and No.1 Royal Crescent in Bath.

New community admin appointed

After a short application period we are pleased to announce that we have appointed Callum Payne as a new community admin, this post will assist in the day to day running of the website, Facebook and Twitter and to further develop the website and engage spotters and enthusiasts.

We asked Callum to introduce himself to everyone and give some information on his background:

My name is Callum Payne and I am from / living Bristol, UK. I go to John Cabot Academy in Kingswood (as of 19/7/14 I will be at BTE, Filton). I have lived here my entire life. My main interest is simple – aviation. Have been interested since about 2010/2011, and now have a Model Airport, which was one of the first things which got me interested. Before that I was interested in Legos, all of which I still have, just in boxes. When I am older I would like to be an Aircraft Engineer. 

After that, it took off; I soon got into aviation photography/videos. My first trip spotting at BRS was probably the worst. As I did not know much back then I presumed that I would be able to see the aircraft in any weather – I could not of been more wrong. When I got there, it was thick fog all around, and could not see a thing! 

I am also quite experienced in PHP, having made 2 web applications so far (PHP is code for websites for any who don’t know). That is another thing I like to do. One application was for a small organization one of my mates did, and the other was completely my idea, and you can visit at http://mymodelaircraft.hol.es. Although it might look finished, it certainly is not. Quite a bit of work to do yet, just got to find the time to do it ;-). 

So yeah, that’s practically sums up me. any questions just ask!

We hope you will make Callum feel welcome and at home and we look forward to working with him to further develop BAS.

Celebrating our first birthday

A few days ago Bristol Airport Spotting passed its first birthday, a lot has happened in a year and we have grown to have many friends, followers and supporters of the airport and our group of enthusiasts.

So what has happened this past year? Our website and branding were given a major makeover, the website now includes a member photo gallery, newsletter signup, blog posts and news and the launch of our own Twitter page. We have also been recognised by both Bristol Airport and Bristol Airport Police and we continue to work closely with the airport police and will soon be launching an airport watch scheme in partnership with the airport police. Our Facebook page has soared to well over 800 likes at the time of writing this article and continues to grow by the day.

Over the next year we hope to organise an exciting aviation event at the airport, launch the airport watch scheme, participate in a trial of online spotting software and further improve our website and facilities to like minded enthusiasts.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our friends, followers and fans of Bristol Airport and Bristol Airport Spotting and to say thank you for helping make this site what it is today!

Thomas Cook adds new Airbus A321 to fleet at Bristol Airport

As previously announced by Bristol Airport Spotting in February, fand ollowing increased demand from holidaymakers in the region and the best-in-class performance of the airlines’ Bristol operation, we can confirm that Thomas Cook Airlines has today launched its summer flying programme with the arrival of two Airbus A321 aircraft – including a brand new aircraft in the airlines new Sunny Heart livery.

Thomas Cook Airlines will introduce a total of six new A321 aircraft across its fleet this summer, cementing the local connection with Airbus’ UK factory in nearby Filton. Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport said, “It is exciting to see the new Thomas Cook Airlines Airbus A321 flying from Bristol Airport. The introduction of this larger aircraft represents an increase in seat capacity of over 20 per cent for summer 2014.

“With parts of the A321 designed and manufactured locally in the Airbus facility at Filton this is an exciting opportunity for passengers in the region to experience the latest home-grown innovation in aircraft aviation technology.”

KLM to operate larger aircraft on Amsterdam service

Great news for spotters as Bristol Airport’s link with award winning European hub, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, has been strengthened thanks to Dutch airline KLM’s introduction of additional capacity on its four-times daily service. KLM introduced the Embraer 190 aircraft on two of its daily departures from Bristol to Amsterdam in April 2013, and has now extended this to cover all flights.

The Embraer 190 aircraft offers increased capacity thanks to its stretched fuselage fitted with a new engine and wing design. This means that it is not just a stretch version with better performance, but a totally optimized aircraft. It is also more fuel efficient while offering much higher performance in terms of range, speed and comfort.

Aer Lingus launches new route to Shannon from Bristol

Aer Lingus Regional today launched its new route from Bristol Airport to Shannon, in the heart of the West of Ireland. Passengers on the first flight from Shannon landed at 12.40pm at Bristol Airport today and were greeted by Aviation Director for Bristol Airport, Shaun Browne.

Aer Lingus Regional will now operate one daily return flight to Shannon Airport and aims to fly up to 20,000 passengers on the route in the first year and 35,000 in 2015. The flights between Shannon and Bristol are on sale now. The launch of the new route is part of the airline’s growth strategy to fly up to two million passengers by 2016.

The airline has overseen a 32% rise in Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers in the 2013. Stobart Air operates over 664 flights per week across 27 routes in Ireland, the UK and France.

Check in to Facebook when spotting

The next time you are at Bristol Airport and spotting, watching or photographing the aircraft you can now check in on Facebook by checking into ‘Bristol Airport Spotting Area’ as a place on Facebook App, this will help spread the word about our website and community and also unite spotters through the use of social media, you can check in whether you are at Winters Lane or Feltham Common.

Thomas Cook increases size of aircraft at Bristol Airport

As a result of the success of basing an additional aircraft at Bristol Airport last summer, following increased demand from holidaymakers in the region and the best-in-class performance of the airlines’ Bristol operation, Thomas Cook Airlines @FlyTC has today announced that it will increase the size of the aircraft used at the airport from the two existing Airbus A320 to a pair of the larger Airbus A321.

This means that for this summer, there will be a 20 per cent increase in holidays (www.thomascook.com) and flight-only seats (www.flythomascook.com) on offer with Thomas Cook.
Rob Thompson, Thomas Cook Airline’s Director of Planning, said, “It’s more great news for travellers from the South West as we add more flexibility and choice with flights and holidays from Bristol Airport building on the success of last year’s new routes.

”Bristol Airport is a jewel in our operation, leading the way with on time performance for our fleet during last summer and in the current winter season.”
In summer 2013, Thomas Cook Airlines Bristol fleet had the best performing statistics across the airline with over 90% of flights on time.
The arrival of two A321 aircraft will also mean that the Bristol fleet may see one replaced with a brand new A321 as Thomas Cook Airlines look to receive a total of six across the UK for this summer, cementing the local connection as such orders help sustain jobs at Airbus’ UK plants, including design and engineering jobs in nearby Filton. Regular shuttle services from Bristol Airport to Toulouse and Chester, both of which are home to major Airbus facilities, also help to support the Filton operation..

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, added, “We are delighted to see an increase in the Thomas Cook Airlines capacity at Bristol Airport. Thomas Cook is a key strategic partner for Bristol Airport and we will work hard to support the success of the larger sized fleet to ensure we are top of the list for a brand new aircraft.”

Last year Thomas Cook added new holiday destinations of Gran Canaria and Bourgas in Bulgaria, together with the return of the Kos flight. Larger aircraft will bring more availability for both package holidaymakers and those looking for great flight-only offer from the South West’s leading airport.

Bristol Airport Spotting now on Twitter

We have expanded our presence on social media and so you can now follow Bristol Airport Spotting on Twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/bristolspotting. Please feel free to follow us, tweet us, tweet your photos to us or use our profile for any other form of communication you require, as well as this don’t forget you can find us on Facebook, Youtube and Flickr.

Message from Inspector Barney Gardom of the Bristol Airport Police Unit

Following our recent announcement that Bristol Airport Spotting will be working closely with Bristol Airport Police we have pleasure in posting the first message from Inspector Barney Gardom:

Thank you for letting me ‘have a slot’ on the Bristol Airport Spotting webpage. We have a small team of uniformed officers who work at the airport 24/7 to keep the airport safe for the staff and passengers here. We can only do this with the help of others. The police team relies on passengers, staff, visitors, local residents and others to be our ‘eyes and ears’. Please can I ask the plane spotters to help us as well. The team deals with a wide range of incidents and not all of them relate to aircraft. We also respond to alcohol related issues, lost people, traffic matters, domestic violence and many of the issues that local neighbourhood officers would recognise.

I hope to give you a regular update for your website, but meanwhile can I just ask that if any of the plane spotters see something or hear something that causes them concern then they phone the team on 07789 176637. Please feel free to flag down the officers during their perimeter patrols if you want to discuss something.

I look forward to working with you all in the future

Barney Gardom

barney.gardom@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Important announcement from Bristol Airport Spotting

During the month of February 2014 the owner of Bristol Airport Spotting, Simon Fewkes, met with Inspector Barney Gardom of the Bristol Airport Police to discuss a working partnership that would allow the airport police to reach out and connect with aircraft spotters and the community easily through the BAS website, we will be posting regular updates and information from the airport police on staying safe at the airport, what to do if you see or hear something that causes concern and what to do, BAS and its community will be the eyes and ears for the Bristol Airport Police.

We also have some exciting news and developments on the horizon which will involve the entire spotting community at the airport to bring us closer together and have more of a place, more details on this will be published soon, stay tuned!

Air Malta increases flights from Bristol Airport

Air Malta, the national airline of Malta, has announced good news for Bristol Airport passengers by adding an extra four departures as a prelude to its summer 2014 charter season.

The additional flights on this popular route will commence on Tuesday 8th April 2014, four weeks earlier than originally planned, to satisfy demand from holidaymakers wanting to visit the Mediterranean island over the spring/Easter period. The direct flights from Bristol Airport to Malta are programmed to depart weekly through to 21st October 2014.

Air Malta commented that there is a noticeable increase in demand for shoulder and off-peak holidays, and the climate during the early spring season should provide the right ambience to discover the many interesting sites and people within the Maltese islands.

Memories of Bristol Lulsgate Airline Memorabilia

Bristol Airport Spotting was contacted by a fellow aircraft enthusiast who is looking to sell some of his airline memorabilia, we have agreed to post the following article to help with his sale.

“My first visit to Bristol Lulsgate was in the early 1970’s as a 10 year old, I remember seeing the brightly coloured Court Line BAC 1-11’s gleaming in the early morning sunshine from the outdoor viewing area at the original terminal.  Also  around at that time were Dan Air Viscounts, and the almost comical HS748’s  bustling around the airport apron along with Aer Lingus early Boeing 737’s on their daily trips to Dublin.

The first flight I ever took was a Cambrian Airways Viscount on a family weekend to Ostend.  This orange liveried propjet looked magnificent with the black dragon tailfin.  In the mid 1970’s at the height of the package holiday boom we also flew to the Costa Brava on a Cambrian BAC 1-11 400 series.

The little kiosk in the terminal sold some airline memorabilia which I eagerly collected,  mainly the enamel badges (see photos below). I became a random collector, and all  my items are now for sale, at great prices! ( see photos) ‘  Please contact me  sirjames.pot@gmail.com

New airline at Bristol Airport links Bristol with Sweden

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced a new service linking Bristol with Stockholm next summer.

Flights will operate twice a week (on Monday and Friday) from 30 June to 15 August 2014, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The schedule has been designed with long weekend leisure breaks in mind, and is expected to prove equally popular with UK and Swedish travellers alike.

Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities. With its 750 year history and rich cultural life, it offers a wide selection of world-class museums and attractions, many of which can be explored on foot. With no direct flight from the South West of the UK for the last five years, the Swedish capital will be a new city break option for many travellers in the region.

The route’s strong inbound potential has also been recognised by local and national tourist boards, with VisitEngland, Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus supporting Bristol Airport and SAS in promoting the new service. It is estimated that it could generate over £1 million for the local visitor economy.

Air traffic at Bristol Airport continues to rise

It has been another record month keeps Airport on track to break six million mark for full year, more than 571,000* passengers used Bristol Airport in October, surpassing the previous record for that month.

The record total represented growth of 4.45 per cent over the previous year. It continues the trend seen throughout the summer, which included the busiest month in the Airport’s history (August) as well as the highest passenger numbers seen in June and July respectively.

With more than 5.3 million passengers flying in and out so far this year, the Airport is on track to top six million passengers per annum in a calendar year for the first time since 2008.

All sectors are performing well, with scheduled international traffic recording the highest growth (4.94 per cent) as a result of new routes launched by bmi regional (including services to Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich) and increased flights across easyJet’s 46 routes from Bristol.

The charter sector also experienced growth in October, traditionally the month when those working in the local visitor economy take a well earned break overseas.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:

“These figures suggest that travellers across the South West and South Wales are increasingly looking to Bristol as their airport of choice. And with around 30 ski flights a week, a good range of winter sun destinations and a growing schedule of business services, we can offer a convenient local alternative to the long slog to the London airports this winter.

“Forecasts indicate this growth will continue, so preparation is already well underway for a potentially record-breaking year in 2014. Construction of a new central walkway will significantly enhance the passenger experience and ease departure lounge congestion when completed next summer.”

Bristol Airport is the UK’s fifth largest airport outside London and the ninth largest in the UK. Planning permission is in place to develop and enhance facilities to enable Bristol to handle 10 million passengers per annum. Development commenced in November 2011 and the first of more than 30 separate projects – the construction of three new aircraft stands – was completed in spring 2012. Other major components include an extension to the terminal building to almost double its size; a new multi-level car-park with public transport interchange on its top level; and an on-site hotel.

More development work begins

Work has begun at Bristol Airport on a £6.5 million project to enhance the passenger experience and ease departure lounge congestion during peak travel times.

Once completed, the new central walkway will include four new pre-boarding zones serving up to six departure gates. The 3,880 square metre structure will connect directly to the departure lounge and will be served by an escalator, six lifts, food and drink vending, and toilet facilities to ensure passenger comfort levels.

All gates will be within 105 metres or less of the main terminal and the walkway will provide much improved access to the existing forward coaching lounge currently used by passengers boarding bmi regional flights.

The design of the new facility takes into account the latest generation of twin-engine, wide-body jets, such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, with provision made for the addition of an airbridge for passengers boarding potential long-haul flights in future.

The central walkway forms part of a comprehensive development of the Airport and follows completion of a western walkway in 2010 which reduced the need to bus passengers to and from aircraft. Other recent enhancements include a second immigration point, additional security search channels and three new aircraft stands featuring fixed electrical ground power, all of which opened in summer 2012.

Overall planning approval is in place for facilities to handle 10 million passengers per annum. This consists of 30 separate components which will be developed over time in line with passenger demand, including extensions to the terminal, a public transport interchange, multi-storey car park and an on-site hotel.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:
“The construction of the central walkway is a demonstration of our ambition to be the airport of choice across the South West and South Wales. It will significantly enhance the airport experience for our passengers and sets the bar high for future development of the terminal.

“Following a record-breaking summer we felt the time was right to make further investment in our passenger facilities. Not only will this new development deliver an improved airport experience for passengers and relieve congestion at peak times, it also demonstrates that Bristol Airport is committed to providing the best possible facilities for our airline partners.

International construction services company, ISG, has been appointed to deliver the project, which will be managed from its Bristol office. Work is scheduled to be completed by summer 2014.

Bristol Airport is the UK’s fifth largest airport outside London and the ninth largest in the UK, handling 5.9 million passengers in 2012. In August 2013, the Airport recorded the busiest month in its history, handling over 700,000 passengers.

New Videos Section

We have recently released an updated videos section on our website, the videos are now broken down into takeoff and landing videos, over time once our library of videos expand we may need to add other sections.

If you have any videos that you have taken and think we should include please let us know by email and we can add them to the page.

easyJet announces Summer 2014 schedules

easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, has announced its summer holiday schedule for 2014 today with 42 routes available from Bristol Airport. The most popular destinations for next summer are expected to be Alicante, Malaga and Palma which feature heavily in next year’s schedule with more than 185,000 seats on sale to these destinations in total. Newly introduced services to Marrakech and Reykjavik are also proving popular. With well over one million seats available, we’re offering a great choice of destinations on our easy and affordable flights spanning the UK and beyond.

We are back!

After a short period of downtime our website is now up and running again, we have had a few issues with our hosting environment but these are now resolved. Whilst we have been away our Facebook page has been gaining many followers and supporters, have you visited our Facebook page and Liked us? This will ensure you stay up to date with the latest news and whats going on here at Bristol Airport Spotting.

Fresh new look for our website

Behind the scenes we have been busy putting together branding and an identity for this website, our new logo was designed and confirmed and from this the website look has been improved. The use of the new logo features across the header and footer, titles are now brightened up with colours from within the logo and like all modern websites we now have a very modern footer, this footer includes links to get in touch, social media links, shortcuts to webpages and our Facebook feed just to ensure all of our visitors get to see it.

Featured article on Airport Spotting Blog

We are pleased to announce we have recently had a featured article about spotting aircraft at Bristol Airport and an editorial about this website posted on the Airport Spotting Blog at www.airportspotting.com/guide-spotting-bristol-airport. This article has been kindly posted by Matt Falcus an aviation writer for the Airport Spotting blog and aviation enthusiast, he is also the author of a number of books on airports around the world.

New logo design

We have been working with the guys at eckhoCreative to come up with an official logo for Bristol Airport Spotting, we have decided on a “teardrop” style logo using a mix of purple and navy blue, we will be rolling this out across our website and other media channels over the coming weeks, our website will also be given a branding makeover to include and compliment the new logo.

The logo displays the initials “bas” which of course is our website and community name “bristol airport spotting”. We hope you agree with us that our new logo looks great!

Link to Bristol Airport Spotting

Do you have a website that is dedicated to spotting aircraft, aircraft information, forums or local websites that are of interest to aircraft spotters visiting Bristol Airport? If you have one of these websites then we would love to link to you and you back to us, we have a dedicated Links page at https://www.bristolairportspotting.co.uk/useful-links/ where we are already getting quite a list of recommended and useful websites.

If you are interested please contact us.

Some more new content

Whilst everyone has been enjoying the sunshine we have been busy with some new content for this website, we now have a new heading titled “Information” and under here you will find information about this website, interesting facts about Bristol Airport and development plan information.

Take a look for yourself by clicking on one of the links under the Information heading.

Welcome to our new site

Hello and welcome to a new website dedicated to spotting aircraft at Bristol Airport, the idea of this website is to share the useful information with the aviation spotting community, a place to show off your photos and videos with others and to find out the important details you need during or while spotting at Bristol.

As this is a new website we are going to be adding new content over time so what you see now is just the start, over time this site will develop into a valuable resource for everyone interested. If you have any ideas or suggestions please let us know by contacting us.

Thanks for stopping by!