Airport expansion could begin sooner than planned

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 September 2018

An artist's impression of what Bristol Airport may look like in future.

An artist's impression of what Bristol Airport may look like in future.

Bristol Airport

Major expansion to a South West airport could begin earlier than expected.

Bristol Airport wants to cater for up to 20 million passengers a year by the mid-2040s.

It is England’s third largest regional airport and the fifth busiest outside London, flying to 126 destinations.

The airport has a maximum passenger number of 10 million a year, but it is preparing to submit plans to North Somerset Council to bring the figure up to 12 million by the mid-2020s.

MORE: Family caught smuggling tortoises inside cigarette packets at airport.

Airport bosses initially hoped to start work by 2020-21, but this could change to 2019 instead.

This means within the next 10 years an extra 23,800 flights each year could be jetting off from Lulsgate Bottom.

The airport conducted its second phase of public consultation in May when more than 1,750 responses were received.

People gave their thoughts on proposals including an expansion of the terminal building to create an extra 14,000sq.m of space.

The Mercury reported in July the airport is also considering buying homes in Downside Road in Backwell to expand its 196 hectare site.

A new arrivals area and improvements to the A38 to accommodate the additional traffic have also been mooted.

MORE: Airport begins plan to make terminal bigger.

An airport spokesman said: “Work continues on the planning application which will be submitted in autumn, taking into account feedback from our recent consultation.

“Work to deliver the proposed development will commence in late 2019, with changes to operational restrictions such as stands and parking, expected to be in place with immediate effect once consent is obtained.

“We would hope for planning approval early in 2019, so we can ensure Bristol Airport continues to play a crucial role in supporting the economic success of North Somerset and the wider region.

“Construction will take place in a phased manner to ensure minimal disruption to the safe operation of Bristol Airport.”

The airport has enjoyed a record-breaking summer after nearly one million people passed through the terminal last month, making August the busiest month in its history.

A total of 951,973 passengers took traffic during the summer to more than 1.8 million, a 6.7 per cent increase on 2017.

In June, it was named the best airport in Europe in the five to 10 million passengers category.

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