THE first phase of Bristol Airport’s expansion plans has been completed.

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Three new aircraft stands were opened by Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Transport, on Friday to signify the first milestone in the airport’s major renovation work.

Airport bosses hope the improvements will allow it to cater for 10 million passengers by 2020 - almost double its current numbers - after North Somerset Council approved its expansion proposals last year.

The aviation stand construction is the first of 30 different projects planned over the next decade.

And they should help ensure the traditional summer holiday getaway goes as smoothly as possible as Bristol cements its position as the fifth largest airport in the UK, outside of London.

Ms Greening said regional airports had an important role to play in sustaining the British economy.

She said: “The work I have seen at Bristol will stand the airport in good stead to serve the needs of regional passengers and businesses for many years to come.

“I welcome the investment that has gone into these improvements and look forward to seeing Bristol play a full part in the future of UK aviation.”

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: “This is the start of an exciting journey for Bristol Airport.

“The Government recognises the value of regional airports, and I am sure the Secretary of State will enjoy seeing first hand how Bristol Airport can contribute to a sustainable future for UK aviation.”

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