Bristol Airport targets more long-haul flights beyond Europe in 2018

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 November 2017

Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport

Flights to new far-flung destinations could be departing from Bristol Airport next year as bosses target a major expansion of its long-haul offering.

After a successful summer for the Lulsgate airport, more long trips are set to be available to travellers, following the return of direct flights to Florida and Mexico this summer.

The airport’s runway is certified for code E aircraft, which includes the A330 and Dreamliner, making trips to North America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and parts of the Far East a possibility.

Daily departures to New York operated in the past, but were scrapped in 2010 due to th e retrenchment of the airline market.

The airport will consult on initial priorities for a new master plan later this year, and will seek views on how to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West over the next 30 years, with a draft plan subject to further consultation in spring 2018.

Nigel Scott, the airport’s business development director, said: “The strong short-haul network available from Bristol is a real asset to the region we serve, but we know businesses in the South West are also looking beyond Europe for new opportunities to trade.

“That is why we are working hard with airline partners to increase the frequency of services to major hubs, as well as exploring the potential for more direct long-haul services east and west.

“A level playing field on rates of air passenger duty remains vital to achieving these ambitions.”

Major investment in the South West, including the development of Hinkley Point C power station, is expected to further boost demand for business travel to and from the region.

Initiatives to promote inbound tourism, such as the recently announced regional gateway partnership between Bristol Airport and VisitBritain, are also set to increase the region’s profile in overseas markets.

Currently the ninth busiest airport in the UK, Bristol saw passenger numbers pass the eight million mark in 2016, and is the only major UK airport to have increased passengers every year since 2009.

Any expansion will continue an ambitious investment programme which has seen more than £160million spent on new infrastructure since 2010.

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