Bristol Airport to increase capacity to 12 million passengers a year

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The UK’s Planning Inspectorate has approved Bristol Airport’s proposed expansion, which will include upgrades to the terminal building for increased capacity. The airport will also improve its parking facilities and public transport links.

This expansion will lift the cap on Bristol Airport’s capacity from 10 million passengers a year to 12 million. Expanded capacity is expected to add 800 jobs at Bristol Airport and up to 5,000 regionally. The airport has an existing plan in place to ensure that local residents are offered future job opportunities. This includes a fund to support those facing barriers to employment, transitioning people in low-paid work into careers at Bristol Airport, with up to £300,000 (US$400,000) being made available to kick-start training, work experience, apprenticeships and job readiness.

The expanded capacity will enable the airport to explore new direct links to Europe and further afield, including the Middle East and North America. In addition to providing economic links for its region, the new routes are predicted to remove some of the eight million car journeys from the southwest of England to London airports that were made each year before the pandemic.

Dave Lees, CEO of Bristol Airport, said, “Bristol Airport welcomes the decision of the Planning Inspectorate. The decision is excellent news for our region’s economy, allowing us to create thousands of new jobs in the years ahead and provide more choice for our customers, supporting inbound tourism and reducing the millions of road journeys made to London airports each year. We will now push ahead with our multi-million-pound plans for net-zero operations by 2030, and look forward to working with stakeholders and the community to deliver sustainable growth.”

John Mayer, Somerset area lead for the small-business representation organization FSB, said, “At a time when being open for business has never been more important, supporting the sustainable growth of our regional gateway sends a strong signal that our region will continue to welcome trade, tourism and investment from overseas to the benefit of SME owners. We strongly support Bristol Airport’s commitment to net-zero operations by 2030, which will open up new opportunities for innovative businesses to grow and support the transition to a decarbonized economy.”

Kathryn Davis, director of tourism for the destination management organization Visit West, said, “Bristol Airport is the West of England’s international gateway, allowing visitors from overseas direct access to one of the UK’s most beautiful regions and its diverse visitor experiences that make the region so popular. The visitor economy is of huge importance to our region, worth more than £2.33bn [US$3.16bn], supporting around 45,000 jobs and welcoming more than one million visits from overseas before the pandemic hit. As travel opens back up again, international visitors will play a critical role in the West of England’s economic recovery.”

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