Bristol Airport expansion plan decision delayed

20.11.2009   (This is Bristol)

Bristol International Airport bosses will have to wait until February to hear
whether their £150 million expansion plans will get the green light.

A decision from North Somerset Council on the airport’s proposal had been expected on December 9.

But councillors will now have extra time to digest the plans to increase annual
passenger traffic to 10 million by 2016 from the current level of six million
a year.

Airport spokesman James Gore said: “While we are keen for a decision on our development
proposals to be reached as soon as is practical, we recognise that
North Somerset Council wishes to ensure all aspects of this complex planning application are fully

The news of the postponement of the planning decision came as Ryanair unveiled five new routes and a new aircraft for Bristol Airport yesterday.

The flights to Faro in Portugal, Gdansk in Poland, Treviso and Palma in Italy
and Valencia in Spain will start in February – bringing
Ryanair‘s total number of routes from Bristol to 35.

The no-frills carrier is bringing a fifth aeroplane – a new Boeing 737-800 –
to fly the new routes and increase the number of flights to Malaga and Malta.

The airport also revealed that passenger numbers in October were down one per
cent on last year at 525,393, and the year-to-date is 10.75 per cent down on 2009.

It is the 12th consecutive month passenger traffic has fallen but the rate of
decline is much slower than earlier in the year.

Mr Gore said the new Ryanair routes showed the need to expand the airport.

He said: “Ryanair‘s announcement of further investment in its base at Bristol International is
a vote of confidence for the South West region and underlines the importance of
enhancing the airport’s facilities over the next decade.”

The airport said the new routes will increase Ryanair‘s annual traffic at Bristol to over 1.3 million, which it estimates will sustain
1,300 local

But environmental campaign group Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAE) yesterday issued a report challenging BIA’s claims that its
growth helps tourism in the South West.

A report by SBAE member Jeremy Birch quoted South West Tourism figures that the
tourist sector in the former Avon area lost 3,340 full-time
jobs in tourism between 2001 and 2007; a time of rapid expansion for Bristol Airport.

Mr Birch said: “Yet more routes to Spain, Italy and Portugal will just continue
the same pattern and it’s the local tourism industry that will continue to lose

Bristol airport‘s proposed expansion plans will have huge local impacts yet is likely to be
destroying as many
jobs as are being promised.”