Airport bosses will 'claw back' passengers

PUBLISHED: 17:30 29 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 25 May 2010

BOSSES at Bristol International Airport (BIA) say they are confident they can claw back the loss of passengers from last year.

BOSSES at Bristol International Airport (BIA) say they are confident they can claw back the loss of passengers from last year.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, chief executive Robert Sinclair said despite it being a challenging year for BIA, it was in a better position than many other airports.

Passenger numbers dropped 9.9 per cent last year compared to 2008 and holiday makers passing through the doors in December 2009 was down by 1.5 per cent.

Mr Sinclair said: "The outlook for Bristol is substantially more positive than other airports.

"This compares to falls of 8.1 per cent in passengers for Belfast in December, 23.6 per cent for Cardiff, eight per cent for Exeter and 11.5 per cent for Newcastle.

"I am confident we will claw back most of the loss of passenger volumes in 2010."

At the meeting, with airline bosses, campaigners and parish and North Somerset councillors, bosses said that BIA will see its 50millionth passenger in October.

Special plans for this milestone will be announced later in the year.

It was also revealed that flight operators Aer Arann and Aer Lingus had reached an agreement to establish a franchise branded as Aer Lingus Regional.

The new partnership will see flights from Cork to Bristol up to six days per week form March 28.

The £150million expansion plan which includes a multi-storey car park, larger terminal, and several other administration buildings, is currently being considered by North Somerset Council.

If approved BIA bosses hope to see 10million passengers pass through the doors annually by 2020.

At the meeting Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAE) campaigner, Hilary Burn, asked the committee to consider capping the passenger numbers to 10million to avoid future further expansion.

She was asked to submit her suggestion formally at the next meeting.

North Somerset councillors will decide the fate of the expansion plan at a special meeting at Weston Town Hall on March 3.

*To see a video of the expansion plans click above.

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