Hilton Worldwide to develop its first modular hotel at Bristol Airport

Hilton Worldwide has announced plans to open the first hotel at Bristol Airport under its economy Hampton by Hilton brand, the Airport said in a release.

The 201 guest room property is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will be the first hotel at the airport. The move comes as Bristol Airport saw record volumes last year when 6.7 million people passed through the terminal, making it one of the UK’s busiest passenger airport.

In developing the modular hotel, Hilton Worldwide has entered into a strategic partnership with modular building provider CIMC. Financed and owned by CIMC, the hotel will be managed by Hilton Worldwide.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide said, ‘CIMC’s capacity to deliver modular sections of the building to the final hotel site offers an incredible opportunity to overcome many of the challenges faced during construction.

‘Alongside potential time and cost efficiencies, CIMC’s ability to provide senior debt to developers using its modular building technique underpins its robust growth model, and we are seeing more and more opportunity for this structure in mature markets such as the UK, and developing economies, most notably in Africa.’

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘The development of a high quality on-site hotel to be operated under such a world-renowned brand will be a very welcome addition to our facilities for the growing number of passengers choosing to fly to and from Bristol Airport. Alongside the terminal extension currently under construction, this is another statement of our ambition to be a world class regional airport serving the South West of the UK.’

CIMC’s innovative modular technique reduces construction time by manufacturing and assembling parts of the hotel, including guest rooms and hallways, in China, before transporting them to the final site for assembly. The model ensures consistent quality and accelerates the on-site schedule.


Bristol Airport announces Bristol-California, Sofia-Bristol services

Bristol Airport has announced that Icelandic low-cost airline, WOW air, is set to launch new flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Bristol Airport via its Reykjavik hub.

The move follows WOW’s announcement in December that Bristol was to become its second UK departure point for flights to Iceland and North America.

The new flights to California will commence services beginning June 13, 2016. Tickets have gone on sale this week from £139 one way. Flights will depart Bristol Airport on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with all services providing the opportunity to connect onwards to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Skuli Mogensen, founder and CEO of WOW air, said: ‘The addition of Los Angeles and San Francisco to our rapidly expanding network is a game changer for WOW air as we cement ourselves as the industry leader in the ultra-low-cost long haul category. We always aim to be the cheapest flight provider on the routes we fly to and with the £139 fare between the UK and California we have accomplished this once again.

‘Our low fares and service with a smile have been integral to our success and we expect that these new routes, at this price, will continue to excite guests from the UK and leave them asking where WOW air will fly next.’

Separately, Bristol Airport said that Wizz Air, a leading European low-fares airline, has this week started operating its new service from Sofia to Bristol, U.K. The twice-weekly service will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays.

easyJet continues expansion of services from Bristol Airport

easyJet, one of UK’s leading airlines and the largest at Bristol Airport, is expanding its services from Bristol and announced the introduction of an additional aircraft to its Bristol operations next year.

According to a release by the airport, starting summer 2016, the airline will have up to 13 easyJet aircraft based at the airport to serve extra demand from its passengers across the South West and Wales, while flying to more destinations.

Earlier this month the airline celebrated the launch of two of its new routes from Bristol Airport – to Basel in Switzerland and Vienna in Austria. The new routes were Bristol Airport’s first ever scheduled services to the two destinations and are expected to carry around 78,000 passengers annually. easyJet’s new routes to Basel and Vienna took to the skies on November 6.

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted with the continued expansion of easyJet and the additional Airbus aircraft based at Bristol Airport. Not only does this expansion bring additional routes to the region but the growth supports job creation for both the Airport and the thriving aerospace industry in the city.’

Since the start of this year, the airline has commenced or announced the launch of 12 new destinations, offering its customers in the South-West a choice of over 58 destinations in total. In addition to its Basel and Vienna inaugurals earlier this month, easyJet’s first flights to Bilbao, Catania, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Lanzarote, Porto and Zante also took off this year. Another three have been announced for 2016: Dubrovnik, Nantes and Venice.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said: ‘2015 has been an impressive year for easyJet in Bristol and our customers in the South West now have an incredible 58 destinations to choose from. As such we are putting a 13th aircraft into our Bristol operations to accommodate for the extra routes we have put on sale and the extra demand. We’re looking forward to welcoming more of our customers onboard in the future.’

More than half of London City’s passengers resort to online check-in

Research conducted at London City Airport has revealed that passengers are increasingly using technology with increased confidence for flight check-ins.

According to the research, in June this year, 53 percent of passengers checked in online and printed their boarding pass at home or downloaded it to their mobile phone – up from 43 percent the previous year, Luchtzak Aviation said in a release online.

The research also found that only one in five travellers – or 20 percent – used a manned-check-in desk at the airport – as compared to more than one in three, or 36 percent, who sought the assurance of a staff member handling check-in last year. Also, self-service check-in kiosks are becoming more popular as usage at the airport has increased from 10 percent to 21 percent in 12 months.

According to the airport, the findings demonstrate the impact of technology on the customer experience, the increased confidence of travellers in taking control of their journey, and the need to save time.

Declan Collier, CEO of London City Airport, said: ‘These findings show that 4 out of 5 people catching a flight from London City Airport are now checking themselves in, whether online or via a self-service kiosk in the terminal.

‘What really stands out to me is the obvious confidence travellers now have. You can provide all the technology money can buy, but your customers must want to use it. Much like shoppers using self-service check-out tills, or even self-service check-in booths at hotels, technology in travel and aviation is giving people choice – choice to own your journey and the processes needed to complete it. It is clear that air passengers have found the confidence to take control of their journey, save themselves time and do it their way in this digital age – a kind of digital DIY.’

The research also found that business travellers were the most likely to check-in online. Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of business passengers at the airport printed their boarding pass at home or downloaded to their mobile, compared to less than half (45 per cent) of leisure passengers.

London City Airport has the highest proportion of business travellers of any UK airport – around 55 percent of passengers, the report noted.

As part of efforts to improve passenger experience, London City is currently investing GBP16m in redeveloping its Western Pier, which houses 70 percent of its departure gates. The new pier will be 74 percent larger, with a contemporary open-plan layout, 600 additional seats and space for new retail and food and drink outlets.


London City Airport profiles passengers based on packing habits

London City Airport has identified five passenger profiles based on their packing habits when planning for a trip – ranging from the ones who return with half their baggage untouched to those who miss out on packing essentials.

Accordingly, the airport has found five categories of passengers – the World On Their Shoulders (WOTS), Kitchen Sink, Pants & Polos, My Case or Yours and the Last Minute packers – set on a pleasure or business trip. The airport describes the general traits of the different categories as:

World On Their Shoulders (WOTS) – the ones who struggle to stay upright under the weight of their hand luggage. To avoid an overweight hold luggage, they carry stuff in shoulder bags.

Kitchen Sink – Fearing the thought of being caught short, they stuff everything in their suitcase they can think of even for a one night trip. This group suffers from the packing equivalent to FOMO – FOLO, Fear of Leaving Out.

Pants & Polos – A well-honed and planned style amongst business travellers, this category simply packs the bare essentials to ensure their bag will fit in the overhead lockers, saving time at check-in and arrivals. They are not keen on changing a plan.

My Case or Yours – This category refers to families travelling together who start by packing individual cases for each member but end up putting things wherever they’ll fit. Hence they are always searching where, in which case, the items are.

Last Minute – Carrying a suitcase of mismatched outfits, odd shoes, no swimwear, but excess woollens, this category is the most unorganised when it comes to planning a trip.

Commenting on traveller profiles and advising people planning their holidays, a London City Airport spokesperson said, ‘We advise passengers to check their luggage allowance with their airline in advance so they have plenty of time to pack and avoid additional charges at check-in.’

‘We see a lot of Pants & Polos with our business travellers, who travel regularly and have packing down to a fine art. However, weekend breakers’ and holidaymakers’ luggage comes in all shapes and sizes and we get a broad mix of WOTS, Kitchen Sinkers and My Case or Yours. The beauty of a Last Minute packer is that to the outside world they appear organised, it’s only when they’re sitting around the swimming pool in jeans and cowboy boots that they get found out.’


Bristol Airport welcomes National Express service

Bristol Airport has announced a National Express service for transport to and from South Wales following the withdrawal of coach operator First Group.

The move ensures the continuation of the only direct public transport link between South Wales and Bristol Airport. Cheaper than its predecessor, the new 216 service set for launch on March 1 will operate between Cardiff Bus Station and Bristol Airport, offering a direct public transport link for Welsh travellers who fly from the airport.

Operating 12 times a day in each direction, the 216 service is run by South Wales-based Edwards Coaches, reaching the airport from Cardiff Bus Station in just one hour and 20 minutes – 20 minutes faster than the outgoing service. It also calls at Cardiff University and Newport Rail Station.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘The launch of a National Express service to and from Cardiff brings a high profile brand to the growing range of public transport options available to passengers using Bristol Airport, providing a convenient link to our route network for people and business in South Wales. It’s fantastic to have National Express on board and help strengthen the overall customer service offer of Bristol Airport.’

National Express Service Delivery Director, Kevin Gale said: ‘We are really pleased to be taking on this route which provides such an important link between South Wales and Bristol Airport. We are particularly pleased to be able to pay tribute to the Bristol’s amazing aviation history and the pivotal part it played in bringing the world’s fastest commercial aircraft to the world by naming our service the 216. We may not be quite as fast as a Concorde but our service, which is faster than its predecessor, links Bristol Airport to Cardiff in just one hour twenty minutes, offering unbeatable convenience for passengers.’

Featuring a ‘Bristol Airport Express’ livery, the new service vehicles are fully wheelchair accessible. The service includes the usual National Express provisions, viz. power sockets, leather seats and air-conditioning.

National Express tickets are on sale, with single fares starting from £13, with a 25 per cent discount available to those who book a return ticket.

Edinburgh Airport opens one-stop-shop for luggage needs

Edinburgh Airport has announced the opening of Luggage-Point – a retail and service arm of Weigh-ahead – in the airport’s new terminal extension, offering passengers a solution to luggage requirements.

The new Edinburgh store stocks luxury brands like Samsonite, Kipling, Trunki and Fiorelli. It also offers customers a dry-cleaning drop-off and collection service, as well as lost property, storage and bag wrap facilities – the first of its kind at the airport. The store is also the first retailer in the world to stock exclusive merchandise from Rise Gear – luggage products previously featured on the Canadian Dragons Den that can roll packing and storage all into one.

The Airport’s Shop and Collect service will be based at Luggage-Point, which will be open from 4:00am to 10pm.

Richard Townsend, Head of Retail and Property at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘Having the new Luggage-Point store in our new terminal means that customers can have the choice of fantastic products and services in the one place.

‘We want to make the passenger journey as easy and stress-free as possible so the fact we can now offer services like bag wrapping and dry-cleaning will be a real benefit to our customers.’

Marc Stewart, a director of Luggage-Point said: ‘We’re extremely proud and excited not only as a company but as a family to be opening our new travel retail and passenger services store at Edinburgh Airport.

‘Edinburgh Airport is growing whilst committed to enhancing and improving the passenger experience. Luggage-Point shares the same philosophy and look forward to working with Edinburgh Airport to achieve these goals.’

Another first of its kind, Edinburgh Airport said that it will also install the new Best-weigh pre-check-in weighing units. Passengers will be able to check the weight of their luggage against the permitted allowance, whichever the airline they’re flying with. If too heavy, the system automatically calculates and advises of any potential charges. Located in the main check-in hall, the machines have inbuilt card payment facilities.

Manchester Airport station set to close for three weeks in January

The railway station at Manchester Airport will close for three weeks in the New Year as work to complete the new fourth platform is carried out, the Lancashire Evening Post has reported.

In order to accommodate the new platform work – which also includes finishing platform improvements with new CCTV and information screens – only two platforms will be in use between Sunday 11th and Saturday 17th January. The station will then be closed to all trains until Monday 9th February.

In January, travellers will face disruption and may have to find alternative ways to reach the airport as Network Rail begins to install the new track and signalling. The authorities will be providing information on replacement buses shortly, the report said.

Wayne Poole, director of passenger services for Manchester Airport, said: ‘We’ll be working with the variety of partners that are involved in the fourth platform works to minimise disruption during the station closures.

We continue to work with transport providers to look at ways to further enhance access to the airport.’

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: ‘While there is never a good time to close the railway we have worked closely with the airport, Metrolink and train operators to complete this work at a time which will impact the fewest numbers of passengers and I apologise for any short-term inconvenience while we deliver these long-term benefits.’

Transport for Greater Manchester’s Metrolink director, Peter Cushing, said: ‘With the opening of the new airport line in November, the new heavy rail fourth platform will represent an excellent example of heavy and light rail integration at one of the best road and rail connected airports in the country.

‘We are grateful to both Metrolink and rail passengers for their patience while this, ultimately, beneficial work is carried out.’

The platform upgrade, which is part of the £1bn+ investment in the railway, will allow extra services to call at the airport and provide passengers with better access from across the north of England.

Bristol Airport to promote West of England to world

Bristol Airport is showcasing the West of England to airlines from across the globe at the World Route Development (WRD) Forum, taking place from September 20-23 in Chicago.

The WRD forum – the world’s largest commercial aviation event – gives airports and tourism organisations the chance to meet with airlines to discuss new route opportunities.

The airport has teamed up with tourism organisations Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus to promote the West to the world’s established and emerging airlines. The move comes as the number of foreign residents using Bristol Airport has almost trebled in the last decade, with over a million journeys made by overseas visitors from 82 different countries in 2012.

Besides the one-on-one meetings with airlines, Bristol and Bath will showcase iconic images of the West of England at the VisitEngland stand to 3,000 delegates, including representatives of 300 airlines.

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘World Routes is an important date in our calendar because it gives us the opportunity to meet with key decision-makers to make the case for new routes.

Inbound tourism is a vital part of the passenger mix for airlines, so having the support of Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus helps us to demonstrate the strong tourism offer we have for visitors to the West of England. We are confident we will be able to work together to secure new routes which will benefit the region and expect to announce details in the weeks following the Chicago event.’

John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to continue this partnership with Bristol Airport. World Routes offers an unrivalled opportunity to network with airlines, travel trade and airports from across the globe and we are working closely with the Airport and VisitEngland to ensure that the potential of regional airports to deliver new routes and visitor markets is achieved. International visits to Bristol grew by 8.5% last year, making Bristol the 8th most visited city or town in the UK and this partnership is critical to continuing growth.’

Meetings at last year’s World Routes in Las Vegas helped Destination Bristol in securing this summer’s twice-weekly Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) service from Stockholm, which brought large numbers Swedish visitors to the city, the airport noted.


London City Airport introduces Europe’s first Luggage Transfer service

London City Airport (LCY) has introduced a brand new service – AirPortr – for air travellers enabling passengers to travel lighter.

The first business of its kind in Europe, AirPortr provides a secure luggage transfer service for business as well as leisure travellers. Bookable in advance or on the day, the service incorporates features including applying tamper-secure seals on luggage, real-time GPS tracking and driver profiles.

International and domestic visitors can leave their bags with AirPortr’s on-site concierge on arrival at LCY and head straight to their meeting or event without the need to carry the heavy baggage around. The luggage is then delivered, and would be waiting for them, at their hotel, office or serviced apartment.

Matthew Hall, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said: ‘Almost two thirds of passengers using London City Airport are business travellers, choosing LCY for the convenience it offers. The airport is within easy reach of Canary Wharf, the City and central London (all under 25 minutes by public transport), and departing passengers can transit from door to gate in no more than 20 minutes while arriving passengers can make it from tarmac to train in 15 minutes.

The new baggage collection and delivery service from AirPortr makes it even easier for business people to get the most out of their trip while enjoying a trouble-free journey outside the airport.’

Randel Darby, AirPortr CEO and Founder said: ‘Time is so valuable so not having to worry about taking your luggage from meeting to meeting, avoiding taking a taxi in rush hour traffic, not going to your hotel before your first meeting saves valuable time and enables you to be more focused.’

On an outbound journey, the luggage is collected beforehand and delivered to the airport ready for the passengers to arrive for check in. All outbound baggage is scanned off-site before delivery to ensure security, in addition to the usual airport checks.

AirPortr is being described as an affordable luxury, with two bags delivered from London City Airport to the West End for £30.