bmi set to boost services on UK and Europe routes

British airline bmi regional is planning to increase routes from Bristol Airport and East Midlands Airport from September 3.

As part of a plan to increase services on core commercial routes, bmi regional is boosting its return services between Bristol and Aberdeen and from East Midlands to Brussels to three times a day on Wednesday and Thursday.

The additional service departs Bristol at 11.30am, arriving at Aberdeen at 12.50pm, while on return the service takes off from Aberdeen at 3pm and lands at Bristol at 4.25pm. The additional flight departs East Midlands at 1.15pm, arriving into Brussels at 3.25pm; while the flight departs the Belgian capital at 3.55pm, arriving at East Midlands at 4.10pm.

‘We connect key regional UK airports with leading commercial centres across the UK and Europe, which are in high demand by business and leisure travellers,’ said bmi regional CEO, Cathal O’Connell. ‘Aberdeen, Bristol, the East Midlands region and Brussels are financial and industrial centres that require connectivity to thrive and expand, and by boosting our schedule we’re enabling business and tourism to flourish.’

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘With these additional flights bmi regional is strengthening links between the South West and North East Scotland and underlining its commitment to businesses in both regions. The bmi regional route network from Bristol Airport is now well established with the business community and we look forward to further enhancements to routes and services in future.’

As part of the plan, bmi regional will also increase flights between Karlstad in Sweden and Frankfurt, Germany to double daily on four week days with a convenient schedule for business travellers, enabling one-day visits for meetings and events.

All bmi regional fares include 30-minute check-in, 20kg checked baggage and full in-flight food and bar service. Fares start from £79 one way including all taxes and charges.

Thomas Cook set to offer more holidays and flight seats from Bristol Airport

After increased demand from holidaymakers in the region and the top performance of the airlines’ Bristol operation, Thomas Cook Airlines @FlyTC is planning to increase the size of aircraft used at the airport from the two existing Airbus A320 to a pair of the larger Airbus A321, Bristol Airport has said.

Accordingly, this summer, there will be a 20 per cent increase in holidays (available at www.thomascook.com) and flight-only seats (available at www.flythomascook.com) on offer with Thomas Cook.

Rob Thompson, Thomas Cook Airline’s Director of Planning, said, ‘It’s more great news for travellers from the South West as we add more flexibility and choice with flights and holidays from Bristol Airport building on the success of last year’s new routes.

‘Bristol Airport is a jewel in our operation, leading the way with on time performance for our fleet during last summer and in the current winter season.’

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, added, ‘We are delighted to see an increase in the Thomas Cook Airlines capacity at Bristol Airport. Thomas Cook is a key strategic partner for Bristol Airport and we will work hard to support the success of the larger sized fleet to ensure we are top of the list for a brand new aircraft.’

In summer 2013, Thomas Cook Airlines Bristol fleet had the best performing statistics across the airline with over 90 percent of flights on time. Larger aircraft will offer more choice and availability for both package holidaymakers and others looking for flight-only offers from the South West airport.

Last year Thomas Cook added new holiday destinations of Gran Canaria and Bourgas in Bulgaria, along with the return of its Kos flight.

 

Cruise and Maritime offers cruise to the Northern Lights from Bristol

Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) has launched an offer to sail off on a ‘Land of the Northern Lights’ cruise next month.

CMV, which claims to have led the re-birth of Bristol Avonmouth as a major cruise departure port, has also reduced the cost of this cruise with substantial discounts of up to 60 percent and an affordable starting price of £799pp.

The offer comes after last year’s Planet Traveller magazine survey revealed that a significant 58 percent of respondents voted the Northern Lights as the travel experience they would most like to have.

CMV’s Discovery sails from Bristol  Avonmouth – on February 24 for 15 nights and terminates in Liverpool, from where an optional coach transfer is available back to Bristol for £25pp.

Cruise and Maritime’s, head of marketing, Mike Hall, said ‘Last week’s BBC TV live coverage featured the Northern Lights on the Stargazing programme. Since then public interest has grown substantially and we have been busy with new enquiries. Senior NASA scientists have predicted that the conditions for viewing the Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) would be at their best this winter.’

From Bristol, the ship will head up to the Norwegian coastline and across the Arctic Circle to spot the spectacular Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This atmospheric display of green and pink lights swirling across the sky is one of nature’s wonders.

The cruise will also include visits to Stavanger, Alesund and Narvik.

Passengers will also have the opportunity of seeing Polar wildlife, winter landscapes including the Svartisen Glacier, and an optional excursion to see the unique Igloo Hotel. The Discovery will also visit Andalsnes and Bergen before returning to Liverpool.

The per person prices are based on two people sharing an inner cabin on a full board basis with afternoon tea and late night snacks included. Also included in the fare are daytime activities, a guest speaker programme, evening ‘big show’ entertainment, complimentary tea and coffee and luggage handling.

easyJet launches extra flights for 2014 Bristol Bordeaux educational exchange

easyJet has added extra flights between Bristol to Bordeaux to facilitate travel for students taking part in the 2014 Bristol Bordeaux Exchange.

The airline had originally scheduled the summer route to commence in May, but decided to meet the demand for flights in April from participants in the exchange programme. It will add extra flights between the twin cities from April 4, 2014 through to April 29, 2014 enabling students to fly to and from their local airport.

easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager, Ali Gayward, said: ‘The Bristol Bordeaux Exchange remains a really popular programme for young people in both cities, so I’m pleased to announce that 16 additional easyJet flights have been added to the schedule next April. The extra flights will ensure schoolchildren in the South West can continue to participate in this valuable cultural exchange.’

Debbie Richards, Director, Academie Aquitaine said: ‘We are delighted that easyJet is supporting the exchange programme by scheduling additional flights in April. In the early days of the Bristol Bordeaux Exchange it took 27 hours to get to Bordeaux and now it takes less than an hour and a half. Parents really value the convenience of knowing that their children can fly in and out of Bristol Airport with easyJet.’

Students from the Bristol area participating in the exchange will spend two weeks living with their exchange partner family in Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region of France. In return, the student’s family also hosts the exchange partner for a fortnight.

The exchange process is organised diligently – taking into consideration hobbies, age and background. For the participants, it aims to lay the foundation for real love of languages and the understanding of another culture, as well as the establishment of real longstanding friendships.

The Bristol Bordeaux Exchange started in 1947, and has used air travel from Bristol Airport since 1964. The Community Interest Company, Academie Aquitaine, manages the exchange scheme and receives funding and support, including office space, from Bristol Airport.

Bristol Airport to promote the city’s attractions at World Route Development Forum

Bristol Airport has partnered with Destination Bristol to promote the city’s attractions to airlines from across the globe at the World Route Development Forum, an annual aviation industry event.

The World Route Development Forum, which is taking place from October 5 to 8 in Las Vegas, provides airports and tourism authorities with the opportunity to meet with airlines to make the case for new air services. More than 3,000 delegates from over 100 countries are expected to attend, enabling airlines to evaluate a range of new route opportunities.

The partnership comes after Destination Bristol had teamed up earlier this year with Bristol Airport at the Routes Europe event in Budapest. Bristol will also feature prominently on Visit England’s stand, which will promote regional airports as convenient gateways to the UK.

Shaun Browne, aviation director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘Competition for routes is intense, with airports and cities across the world recognising the value air links deliver to local economies by encouraging trade and facilitating inbound tourism.

‘Tourism and aviation are inextricably linked. By working closely with Destination Bristol we can ensure we make the best case for new services, demonstrating how the city’s attractions, and those of the surrounding region, can attract tourists and help fill flights.’

Kathryn Davis, head of tourism at Destination Bristol, said: ‘Developing new routes and maintaining existing routes into Bristol Airport are critical for the long term success of Bristol’s visitor economy, worth over GBP1 billion. Bristol has continued to maintain its position as one of the UK’s top ten cities for international travellers with overseas visitors contributing over GBP143m to the local economy.

‘At the same time, Bristol is gaining a reputation as a great short break destination as well as having the potential to deliver more international conferences and events. By working in partnership, we are able to deliver a really strong message about the city’s ambition to be one of Europe’s key destinations for business and leisure travel.’

The promotional efforts come as Bristol Airport has been experiencing a rise in foreign passengers over the last decade, with Bristol and the South West emerging as a key destination for both pleasure and business. Foreign nationals using Bristol Airport have almost trebled in the last decade, with over a million journeys made by overseas visitors from 82 different countries in 2012. According to the Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Survey data, 18 percent of the Airport’s 5.9 million passengers in 2012 were resident outside the UK.

Destination Bristol and Bristol Airport have teamed up at trade shows for conference and business tourism in the last twelve months, attending the IMEX and EIBTM events. The two organisations have also worked closely to promote Bristol to the travel trade and tour operators in Germany, following the launch of new routes by bmi regional.

Bristol Airport starts next phase of development work

Bristol Airport has commenced the new £6.5 million development project to ease congestion in the departure lounge during peak hours and improve passenger experience.

The latest development includes the construction of the new central walkway, with four new pre-boarding zones serving up to six departure gates. Connecting directly to the departure lounge, the new 3,880 square meter structure will be served by an escalator, six lifts, food and drink vending, and toilet facilities to ensure passenger comfort.

The new facility will be designed to accommodate the latest generation of twin-engine, wide-body jets, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, with provision for an additional airbridge for passengers boarding potential long-haul flights in future. All the departure gates will be within 105 metres of the main terminal. International construction services company, ISG, has been awarded the project, which should be completed by the summer of 2014.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘The construction of the central walkway is a demonstration of our ambition to be the airport of choice across the South West and South Wales. It will significantly enhance the airport experience for our passengers and sets the bar high for future development of the terminal.

‘Following a record-breaking summer we felt the time was right to make further investment in our passenger facilities. Not only will this new development deliver an improved airport experience for passengers and relieve congestion at peak times, it also demonstrates that Bristol Airport is committed to providing the best possible facilities for our airline partners.’

The central walkway forms part of a comprehensive development of the Airport and follows completion of a western walkway in 2010. The airport has also completed a second immigration point, additional security search channels and three new aircraft stands, featuring fixed electrical ground power, all of which opened in the summer of 2012.

Overall planning approval is in place for facilities to handle 10 million passengers per annum, which includes extensions to the terminal, a public transport interchange, multi-storey car park and an on-site hotel.

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

 

easyJet to start new flights from Bristol to Reykjavik, Marrakech

easyJet, a UK-based airline, has said that it is planning to launch new flights from Bristol to Reykjavik and Marrakech starting December 2013.

Ali Gayward, commercial manager for easyJet, said: ‘We are pleased to announce two new routes for Bristol Airport today offering exciting new holiday destinations for people across the South West.

‘Reykjavik is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers who are attracted to the fantastic scenery and natural beauty as well as the thriving bar and restaurant scene. Marrakech boasts luxury hotels, rich history and culture and excellent shopping opportunities with a flight time of just over four hours.’

The new flights will offer the South West’s only connection to Iceland. easyJet will operate the routes using 156-seat Airbus A319 and will carry over 55,000 passengers during the first year. The new flights are on sale at www.easyJet.com, with details as follows:

Starting December 14, 2013 easyJet will operate flights to Marrakech on Tuesdays and Saturdays with fares from £33.99 for two people travelling together.

Starting December 12, 2013 easyJet will operate flights to Reykjavik on Thursdays and Sundays with fares from £31.99 for two people travelling together.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: ‘Today’s announcement adds two more exciting destinations to easyJet’s extensive route network from Bristol, which is the largest available at any UK airport outside London. It also brings two new countries within easy reach from Bristol Airport, taking the total number of nations served by direct flights to 32.’

The largest airline operating from Bristol Airport, easyJet has up to 11 aircraft permanently based at the site, with 420 staff employed locally and 46 destinations served. The airline flies over three million passengers to and from the airport annually.

 

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.’

Bristol Airport hosts Concorde visual experience

Bristol Airport is showcasing a Concorde visual experience for summer passengers.

The airport has unveiled a lighting feature in the departure lounge based on the iconic ‘delta’ wing shape of Concorde. Passengers can new admire the acclaimed, locally built aircraft while waiting to board their flights.

Lighting Services and SSE Contracting have worked on the design and installation of the lighting feature, based on the brief by Bristol Airport’s head of engineering, Fraser Dury, who commented, ‘We wanted to enhance the passenger experience within the departure lounge by increasing the lighting levels. The location we chose is above the main seating area and visible from both the first floor and mezzanine level, so the idea of doing something a bit different and creating a talking point for passengers developed. Taking the iconic shape of Concorde for inspiration made sense because of the strong links between the aircraft and Bristol.’

The lighting feature measures 9.2 metres by 3.7 metres and weighs 120kgs, with LED coloured lighting following the distinctive style and shape of Concorde.

Mike Littleton, Bristol Airport’s community relations manager and former chairman of the Concorde Trust, said: ‘We are very proud of Bristol’s aviation history and the new lighting feature emphasises the links between design, manufacturing and commercial aviation. Not only will the lighting feature be practical, it will also remind passengers of the wealth of aviation history attached to the city of Bristol.’

An additional visual enhancement has been included in the walkway connecting the terminal to a number of departure gates, where new artwork showcases various visitor attractions in the region. The new imagery complements a 57m mural that aims to capture the spirit of the South West for inbound visitors, and a 40m long display showcasing the Airbus aircraft and local employees involved in its design and manufacture.

Bristol Airport is preparing for a busy summer holiday season and has already recorded its busiest June ever with over 625,000 passengers travelling through the terminal. This is a 3.4 percent increase over June 2012, and also surpassed by 15,000 the previous record set in 2008.

Manchester tops UK airport popularity survey

A survey has revealed that Manchester is the UK’s favourite airport.

The study, which was carried out by Skyscanner, a web-based travel search site, polled 1,600 UK travellers on their airport preferences and Manchester proved to be the most popular. The airports at Gatwick, Newcastle and Birmingham closely followed the northern airport in the rankings.

Manchester proved to be the winner based on a number of factors, including the quality of its customer service, its on-site facilities, the quality of its bars and restaurants and the range and quality of its shopping options. It was also claimed to be well organised, and accessible.

Gatwick’s second place was primarily due to the helpfulness of its staff and the ample capacity of its check-in areas, while Newcastle was popular for the ease with which it could be transited.

Heathrow was the second best London airport, coming in fifth place, but the capital’s other three facilities, Luton, London City and Stansted, all featured in the list’s bottom four. Scottish airport, Aberdeen, was given the dubious honour of being placed last, with the survey’s respondents particularly unimpressed with the quality of its baggage collection area.

Victoria Bailie commented on the results for Skyscanner, saying, ‘The UK’s leading airports handle millions of passengers every year and the results of our study shows that whilst Manchester is the third busiest in the UK, it still manages to keep passengers happy.’

The full league table was as follows:

Manchester Airport

London Gatwick Airport

Newcastle Airport

Birmingham International Airport

London Heathrow Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Glasgow International Airport

Edinburgh Airport

East Midlands Airport

Bristol Airport

Belfast International Airport

London Stansted Airport

London City Airport

London Luton Airport

Aberdeen