Bristol Airport’s ‘Bristol Bear’ finds its real owner

The 100-year-old dog-eared teddy bear found abandoned in Bristol Airport’s departure lounge has finally found its owner, the Airport said in a release.

Staff at Bristol Airport found the antique bear, which has one eye and a floppy ear, in a bag with a frayed black and white photo of him with two little children, dated March 1918. The toy had no name tag, but a message in faded ink on the back of the picture read: ‘With dearest love and kisses to our darling Daddie from your loving little daughters Dora and Glyn.’

The bear, nicknamed ‘Bristol’ by staff, was found in 2012 and staff spent 14 months searching flight records to see if they could find any two passengers with the same names as mentioned on the picture.

A public appeal was issued to try and trace the owner earlier this year and a campaign was launched by The Mature Times, a newspaper for the over 50s.

Robert Glyn Baker saw the story and recognised the bear that he lost while travelling through the airport on his way to Cyprus. He said: ‘I was stunned when I got a cutting of the Mature Times in the post (sent by his former wife) and saw my bear on the front page. I thought it was lost forever, I was convinced it had been destroyed.

‘I’m an only child and my auntie Dora didn’t have any children either so I am the only person that could have got the bear,’ Robert said. ‘It’s the sentimental value really, my hands were so full with what I was carrying I thought I had left it in the toilet. I had so much with me, but like a fool I left it in the airport. I would love to have it back.’

Robert is the son of Glyn Baker, born in 1916, who is pictured with his sister in a photograph found with the bear.

Jacqui Mills, public relations manager at Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted that the owner of ‘Bristol Bear’ has been found. The Bristol Airport team was determined not to give up on the search, and we always hoped we could reunite him with his family.

‘Finding out that the father in the photograph served in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) during the First World War and received the picture of his family shortly before his sad death, really brings these lost property items to life. The little bear has been on an amazing journey and we are now making plans for his final flight home.’

Bristol Airport prepares for busy Christmas break

Bristol Airport (BA) is preparing for a busy Christmas break, with over 56,000 passengers expected to pass through the terminal over the course of the four days from Saturday until tomorrow, December 24.

The festive period will also see families and friends reuniting for Christmas, with flights to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Dublin enabling travellers to access connections to forward destinations across the world.

New city break destinations this month include Reykjavik and Marrakech, while skiers have been able to choose from resorts in seven countries this winter. Geneva, Belfast and Edinburgh are also proving popular destinations.

Bristol Airport is also expecting an influx of visitors from overseas, with many travellers returning home or visiting friends and family in the region for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

No flights are scheduled to operate on Christmas day. Following the final arrival on Christmas Eve (easyJet flight EZY6030 from Barcelona), the next flight to operate will be an early morning departure to Lapland on Boxing Day, in order for airport workers to get in their own Christmas break. The retail and catering facilities in the terminal will be closed from midnight on Christmas Eve to 3am on Boxing Day morning.

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘December is traditionally a busy month at the Airport, but it can also be an enjoyable time as the terminal plays host to some tearful reunions when loved ones return home for the festive season. With daily passenger numbers peaking at around 18,000 on Sunday the 22nd, we will be working hard to provide a warm welcome to inbound visitors and a friendly and efficient service for those heading off to new horizons.’

For transport services, passengers will be required to check in advance of their departure over the Christmas period as no services will be operating to or from Bristol Airport on Christmas Day and with a reduced service on other days of the holiday period.

Scandinavian Airlines to start Bristol-Stockholm route in summer 2014

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and claimed to be the largest airline in Scandinavia, has announced a new service linking Bristol with Stockholm next summer, Bristol Airport said in a release.

Flights will operate twice a week, on Monday and Friday, from June 30 to August 15, 2014, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The schedule, designed with long weekend leisure breaks, is expected to become popular with prospective travellers from both the UK and Sweden. For the last five years there have been no direct flight options from the South West of the UK to Stockholm.

Built on 14 islands, Stockholm is one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities. The Swedish capital, with its 750-year history and rich cultural life, will now be a new city break option for many travellers in the region.

The route is expected to generate over £1 million for the local visitor economy, with VisitEngland, Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus supporting Bristol Airport and SAS in promoting the new service.

Hans Dyhrfort, SAS’s regional general manager for Western Europe, commented: ‘We are delighted to be launching a new summer route from Bristol to Stockholm. The Swedish capital is an amazing summer destination and is perfect both for a short city break or a longer stay.’

James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, said: ‘This route not only gives Swedish visitors a great link to Bristol, it also provides convenient access to Bath, the Cotswolds and the rest of South West England. This fits with our focus on promoting regional airports as gateways to great English attractions outside London.’

Philippa Sutton, PR manager at Visit Sweden, said: ‘We are delighted SAS is launching a new route between Bristol and Stockholm. 2013 was a fantastic year for Stockholm with the opening of the Abba Museum in May, and the re-opening of the Vasa Museum in April, and we are expecting even more interest in the Swedish capital in 2014.’

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘This is a great example of a direct service which not only improves connectivity for the South West, but brings valuable visitor spend to the tourism sector in this region as well. Today’s announcement by SAS also marks the return of this famous airline brand to the South West market after a five year absence.’

Bristol Airport is the UK’s fifth largest airport outside London and the ninth largest in the UK, handling 5.9 million passengers in 2012. In August 2013, the airport recorded the busiest month in its history, handling over 700,000 passengers.

easyJet launches new routes from London Gatwick, Bristol

easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, has said that it will launch two new routes to Brussels and Strasbourg from London Gatwick starting March 30, 2014 with fares from £32.99 per person.

The new flights will operate twice daily to and from Brussels and four times a week to and from Strasbourg departing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline will also launch thrice daily flights to Jersey and twice daily to Paris CDG and Newcastle. The airline will also increase services to destinations including Inverness, Isle of Man and Bordeaux – from once to twice daily, as well as Amsterdam and Geneva – from six to seven daily flights.

easyJet now offers more choice for business passengers from London Gatwick, with a total of 107 routes. With the route increase, London Gatwick is expecting to create jobs for 200 pilots and cabin crew at the base.

Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, said: ‘These new routes add even further choice for passengers from easyJet’s largest base at affordable prices and with great service.’

‘We also look forward to welcoming 200 new pilots and cabin crew to our London Gatwick base as part of our expansion.’

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, London Gatwick, said: ‘We are delighted that easyJet is opening more routes to key business destinations across Europe and the UK, building on its strong network from Gatwick. easyJet’s impressive network, its great value fares and business friendly service compliments what Gatwick has to offer – quick train links to London’s financial districts, fast security processes and a high quality environment for the time conscious traveller. All of these elements combined means that both easyJet and Gatwick are rapidly becoming the smart choices for the modern business traveller.’

Separately easyJet and Bristol Airport have entered into a new five year agreement, presenting a framework for further expansion and new route opportunities. easyJet has already added two new destinations to its network from Bristol, with flights to Reykjavik and Marrakech launching in December.

New bus service to offer free travel, Bristol Airport

A new bus service has been launched to provide vital links to bus and rail routes for local residents and commuters in North Somerset, North Somerset Council said in a release.

Operated by First, the A2 will link Yatton, Claverham, Congresbury, Langford, Bristol Airport, Backwell and Nailsea, and will run free of charge, from Monday, November 4 until Friday December 27, 2013.

The service will interchange with bus, rail and airport connections, giving passengers considerable options for getting to work or school, going on local trips or travelling further ahead. The Bristol Airport stop is useful for those working at the airport or catching a plane, and provides a much-needed bus link between Nailsea and the airport.

Running hourly during peak times, the A2 is claimed to be ideal for commuters and shift workers from Weston, Bristol and Nailsea. For instance, the first bus is scheduled to allow Bristol Airport workers to be on site to start shifts at 6am.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s executive member for highways and transport said: ‘The new A2 bus service is the missing link for people in the central part of North Somerset who want to travel around the area and connect to work and leisure opportunities in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. It also increases the options for people who are looking for employment in the area as well as widening the pool of potential staff for businesses who are recruiting.’

Launched through the Department for Transport Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), the service will run hourly, Monday to Friday, in both directions from 5.07am to 12.15pm and 3.50pm to 6.45pm. Passengers can simply arrive at the bus stop for free travel on the A2, as there is no need to book in advance.

Bristol Airport launches campaign in Devon and Cornwall

Bristol Airport has launched a marketing campaign across Devon and Cornwall on September 2, to raise the region’s awareness of more than 100 destinations served.

The campaign, which highlights the range of routes available to passengers across the South West, comes after the significant growth in market share in the two counties, as Bristol is increasingly seen as the airport of choice in the region. Citing CAA Passenger Survey 2012 data, Bristol Airport said that its market share has risen since 2008, when it accounted for around one fifth of the market for air travel in Devon and Cornwall.

According to data from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, nearly a third (33 percent), of air journeys made by residents of Cornwall have an origin or destination at Bristol Airport, with the number even higher at 35 percent for Devon. In total, nearly one million passengers from Devon and Cornwall used Bristol Airport last year.

As part of the campaign, Bristol Airport will organise print, radio and outdoor advertising across the region. In addition, the team will also visit travel agents in both counties during the course of the week. The campaign focuses on the range of destinations available from Bristol, offering a convenient alternative to the long trip to airports in London.

Shaun Browne, aviation director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘Air connectivity is vital to people across the South West, both for business and leisure purposes. Without flights to destinations across the UK and Europe parts of our region would be cut off from the many benefits that travel brings.

‘We have seen major structural changes across the regional airport market in the UK since the economic downturn, with the South West particularly hard hit by airfield closures. Our message to people in Devon and Cornwall is that Bristol Airport can fill the gap, with a great range of routes and services which mean that you do not have to go to London when you want a foreign holiday or need to do business overseas.

‘Access from the south via the M5 is good, and links to the rail network are better than ever with our Flyer bus operating between the Airport and Bristol Temple Meads station every ten minutes at peak times.

‘Serving the wider region is an important part of our vision, both through a comprehensive outbound route network or as a gateway to overseas visitors exploring the fantastic attractions the South West has to offer.’