Airport passenger numbers top 7m

The Bristol Airport terminal.

The Bristol Airport terminal. - Credit: Archant

Bristol Airport bosses have paid testament to the South West’s ‘thriving’ economy after passenger numbers exceeded seven million for the first time in a 12-month period.

The airport reached the milestone on May 17, continuing an upward trend for the Lulsgate terminal, which saw six million people pass through its doors during 2015.

Bristol is now England’s third largest regional airport and, according to bosses, an increased number of destinations during the past 12 months played a major part in helping it achieve this latest success.

The airport announced last month that Thomson would begin flying to Cancun in Mexico and Florida next summer.

Icelandic airline WOW has also recently launched a range of routes to the United States and Canada from Bristol, via its main hub in Reykjavik, while Wizz Air also launched services from Bristol to Katowice in Poland, Kosice in Slovakia, and the Bulgarian capital of Sofia within the last 12 months.

Robert Sinclair is the airport’s chief executive officer. He said: “It is amazing to think that when commercial flights commenced on our current site in 1957, just 33,000 passengers used the airport in the entire first year.

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“We now see a similar number pass through the terminal on a busy summer day.

“Increased demand for air travel is a positive sign that our region’s economy continues to thrive.

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“Given the growth in our route network and continued improvement in facilities and services, passengers are increasingly turning to Bristol as the premier gateway airport serving the South West and South Wales.”

The airport said it plans to meet increasing demand by expanding its range of passenger facilities.

Work is well underway on a £24million extension to the west terminal, which will transform the security search process for passengers as early as the summer.

An enlarged baggage reclaim area, customs facilities and a new meet-and-greet area are all expected to be up and running as part of the extension by the end of 2016.

In addition, a 201-room Hampton by Hilton hotel is expected to be open in time for Christmas, while the completion of the South Bristol Link Road is set to enhance access to the main terminal building.

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