Bristol Airport has opened its new terminal extension to passengers as the airport prepares for a busy summer holiday season.
The first phase of a GBP24m expansion, a 9,000 square metre structure, features the latest technology in an enlarged security search area, and includes five new lanes, with a further five introduced by the end of this month. The terminal extension comes as passenger numbers passed seven million for the first time in a rolling 12 month period, and traffic is up by more than 10 percent for the first half of the year.
On completion, the extension will comprise 12 security lanes, including a Fast Track zone which will go live later this year. A pre-boarding preparation area offers new space for passengers to get their belongings ready for screening, and an automated tray return system with extended conveyor belts to streamline the process through metal detectors, x-rays and security scanners, where required. The backdrop will feature a digital wall, measuring 14 metres in length, displaying a mix of information on overseas destinations and short films.
Following the current extension, the immigration hall will be developed in 2017, with plans for the installation of up to 10 of the latest ePassport gates.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘We want to make Bristol Airport the first choice for passengers across the South West of the UK by combining world class facilities with West Country hospitality. This terminal extension raises the bar for regional airports by combining a spacious feel with the latest technology and a real sense of place.
‘Seven million passengers use Bristol Airport every year, but the same number again travel to airports in the South East in order to fly. By providing an even better local alternative we can generate time and cost savings for travellers while freeing up capacity in the congested London airport system.’
Bristol Airport is also expanding its route network, with direct services to 117 destinations and frequent daily services to major hubs including Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin and Frankfurt, as well as a recently launched WOW air service to Reykjavik, with onward connections to North America. From May 2017, Thomson Airways will operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Florida and Mexico, with more direct long-haul destinations in future, the airport said in a release.