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Bristol airport expansion

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Message 1 - posted by Bristol-Host-Ian, Oct 31, 2005

Is expansion of the city's airport a good thing? There is no doubt that an abundance of cheap flights is good for the holiday trade but should Bristolians be concerned with the extra noise for people living on the flight path? Or the amount of pollution planes cause?
Does the city have enough transport infrastructure to cope or will we all be dependant on cars or taxis?
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Message 2 - posted by Molly Cule, Sep 23, 2006

Good for the Airport. Aircraft are less noisy now due to new technical progress. I expect half the people who complain about noise, don't complain when they get on the planes and go on their holidays. NIMBY's. They only complian when it suirs them. Moral, don't buy a house near an airport if you don't like a little noise.
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Message 3 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Sep 23, 2006

Those against airport expansion whether at Bristol or elsewhere point to the increasing greenhouse gas emissions effect as their main objection although groups such as Friends of the Earth have other gripes as well.

The alliance to try to stop Bristol Airport expanding of course includes environmental groups, but also local people some of whose comments lead me to believe their main concern is to move flights away from Bristol and they don't much care where to so long as they are not affected themselves.

The environmental groups say that aviation fuel should be taxed heavily so that air fares will have to rise which in turn, in theory at least, would lead to fewer people able to travel and thus fewer flights.

That would lead to the situation of thirty or forty years ago where only the well-off would be able to fly. Indeed, if flights were cut back at local airports and I could still afford to fly I would have to travel by road probably to London to catch my flight.

Every country would have to tax aviation fuel heavily or Britain would be in the situation where airlines would still fly in and out of the country but only foreign ones.

We know already that Britain tends to obey most EU edicts whilst other countries bend or ignore the rules if they don't suit them.

Having been brought up fifty-odd years ago in the villages that surround the airport (I have lived in Bristol for many decades since) I can't help noticing that these once small rural retreats are now almost small towns because so many people have moved out from the towns and cities.

Some of these new 'villagers' complain about airport expansion whilst still commuting in their cars to Bristol for work.

If they had stayed in the city they would not need to pollute the atmosphere in this way.

It seems they use to greenhouse gasses argument when it comes to aircraft but not when it suits them to use their cars.

As for Bristol Airport, some say that because it is in a rural location it affects far fewer people than if its approaches were over more heavily congested areas, so any argument against expansion there is weakened.

I do use the airport quite regularly and I live around seven miles away 'as the crow flies' just to the north of the flight path onto the westerly runway (the one used about two thirds of the year).

Quite often aircraft position over my house on their approach, or departure when using the easterly runway, especially those arriving/exiting via Brecon (the Scotland, Ireland, USA and north of England routes in the main).

They bother me not a jot, nor do they bother my wife.

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Message 4 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Nov 3, 2006

The local BBC ought to look at today's announcement that Flybe has agreed in principle to purchase BAConnect.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

BAConnect has five Embraer regional jets based at Bristol and operates routes to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris CDG (5 times per day to each), and once daily to Milan, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt.

Flybe used to have a small network out of Bristol but has recently dropped Toulouse, Bergerac, Bordeaux and Belfast City. It now only flies daily to Jersey from Bristol.

Flybe seems to have fallen out of love with Bristol and moved its SouthWest operations to Exeter Airport, where the company is actually based.

Thus far Flybe has made no public commitment to Bristol Airport after it acquires BAConnect, which is in contrast to what is has been saying about its commitment to the other airports currently used by BAConnect.

Initial opinion amongst some in the aviation industry is that Flybe might drop all or some of the current BAConnect routes from Bristol.

Although the loss of all BAConnect routes would not mean a huge percentage reduction in overall passenger figures from Bristol (probably no more than 10%, if that) it would mean the loss of key business routes to major European cities such as Frankfurt, Milan and Zurich.

Paris CDG, Toulouse, Glasgow and Edinburgh are also flown out of Bristol by easyJet.

If Flybe/BAConnect does pull out of Bristol it is almost certain that easyJet (committed to Bristol Airport in a big way in that the airport already carries 11% of easyJet's entire passenger numbers and is its biggest UK base outside London) would respond by basing yet more aircraft at Lulsgate (they already have nine there) to increase rotations on the Scottish and Paris routes.

Whether they would fly to some of the other European cities served by BAConnect is doubtful as the passengersnumbers would not be there to sustain a 156-seat Airbus every day.

It would be interesting to hear the reaction of Flybe and Bristol Airport to this news.

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Message 5 - posted by Imindoors, Nov 3, 2006

I will be on one of those Embraer 145 jets from Frankfurt to Bristol ,on the 16th Nov.
How efficient is the customs system at Bristol? Does it take long ?
It takes about an hour to get through at Auckland airport . But that's dealing with long haul planes.
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Message 6 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Nov 6, 2006

You might not even see any Customs Officers. They seem to be there on some occasions but not on others. Even when they are present the queues are normally not long at all.

Immigration is usually pretty quick and painless too - most of the passengers are UK or EU nationals and it doesn't take more than a few minutes - usually!

Baggage retrieval from the carousels can take up to thirty minutes after landing (can take longer at times and is often quicker), although it obviously depends how busy the airport is at the time.

Just had a look at the airport web Mayfly (operational timetable) for 16 November. If your flight is on time there shouldn't be too much of a rush - only two or three other landings around that time.

I reckon you'd be a touch unlucky if you are not out of the place within forty-five minutes of your wheels touching the runway, probably sooner.

Enjoy the Barbie Jet (the 145). I think it's a great little machine. Holds only fifty passengers, has leather seats and is a bit like having your own private jet, although some people complain it's too small.

The BA 145s won't be at Bristol much longer so enjoy it and have a good trip.

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Message 7 - posted by Nobby, Nov 8, 2006

Ah no Donnelly.....they're not going to drop the Frankfurt route surely ! It's the second largest airport in Europe, after Heathrow.
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Message 8 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Nov 8, 2006

Hello Nobby

Problem is that Flybe has fallen out of love with Bristol Airport. When it expanded its route network from Lulsgate about three years ago to five destinations (only one left now) it made a great noise about having a major base there within two or three years. It never happened, mainly because easyJet spoilt its party.

Furthermore, as I'm sure you are aware, Flybe uses smaller planes than the likes of easyJet and Ryanair and now realises more routes than they first realised are viable out of Exeter using the smaller aircraft.

They don't want to dilute these routes competing against themselves from nearby Bristol to the same destinations.

Flybe's silence about its intentions re Bristol following acquisition of BACon is deafening compared to its stated plans for the other BACon bases.

This may be Flybe keeping its powder dry because it does not like the preferred bidder for Exeter Airport (it wanted one of the others on the short list) but is nevertheless in negotiation with it to try to get the deal it (the airline) wants.

In the unlikely scenario of its failing to achieve one it might have to kiss and make up with Bristol.

Of course, Flybe might keep some of the BACon Bristol routes going, at least in the short term, but it is its silence that is causing many in the aviation world to suppose that the airline doesn't see Lulsgate as part of its future.

Flybe could alter all this at a stroke by saying something.

Several weeks ago it was reported that Lufthansa was looking seriously at Bristol Airport to take some of its German routes, because it is becoming frustrated at the delays and congestion at the London airports following the new security regime.

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Message 9 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Nov 9, 2006

Final airport Master Plan to take the airport forward to 2015 published today.

Not very different to the draft plan published a year ago.

Basically, passenger numbers to increase by around 50% to between 8 and 9 million per year by 2015.

In the context of the 250% expansion of the past six years, this doen't seem earth-shattering to me.
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Message 10 - posted by jofphater, Nov 13, 2006

Is expansion of the city's airport a good thing? There is no doubt that an abundance of cheap flights is good for the holiday trade but should Bristolians be concerned with the extra noise for people living on the flight path? Or the amount of pollution planes cause?
Does the city have enough transport infrastructure to cope or will we all be dependant on cars or taxis?

Quoted from this message

I really think youve answered your own questions, most would love the cheap flights, thouse in the flight path wont like the extra flights, or the increased polution, also, we will be dependant on cars/taxis as the airport is well used by people from all over the south west.
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Message 11 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Dec 14, 2006

Interesting non-joined up thinking by the national Labour government and the Labour-dominated Welsh Assembly.

The Chancellor has recently increased air passenger duty charges for air passengers as a gesture towards cutting carbon emissions, presumably on the basis that fewer people will fly, there will therefore be fewer flights, and so on.

Probably a futile move but at least it will give him some more tax pounds to play with.

Just across the Severn the Welsh Assembly has awarded £500,000 of public money from its £4 million route development fund (rdf) so that Cardiff Airport and Thomsonfly can commence a four days a week 'low cost' service between Cardiff and Barcelona.

This flight can only be overwhelmingly pleasure-orientated and would not have occurred at all without public money.

Unsurprisingly and who can blame them, Thomsonfly are now looking for some more routes to start from Cardiff with the tax payer providing the financial trough into which the airline snout can be dipped.

The Stop Bristol Airport Expansion group might like to mull this over, or are they just worried about flights from Bristol and couldn't care one iota if they are displaced elewhere?

At least the flights from Bristol operate without public subsidy or active political encouragement (Bristol Airport has no access to a rdf anyway), including the long-standing daily easyJet service to Barcelona and the new four days a week Ryanair service to nearby Gerona.

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Message 12 - posted by jofphater, Dec 14, 2006

The Stop Bristol Airport Expansion group might like to mull this over, or are they just worried about flights from Bristol and couldn't care one iota if they are displaced elewhere?

Quoted from this message

This comment gave me one thought. IF the extra flights were say dispersed to Cardiff, wouldnt the Bristol area still be in the flight path as the too airports are fairly close as the crow (or plane!) flies? Therfore thouse against the expantion on noise grounds may not be an awlful lot better off.
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Message 13 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Dec 14, 2006

Some flights that approach Cardiff (eg from Amsterdam) do largely fly over the area around Bristol Airport, albeit a bit higher than those approaching Bristol Airport (and Bristol probably gets the blame for them from the local objectors), but many Cardiff inbounds don't.

The Great and the Good of South Wales would love to get hold of the sort of network Bristol Apt has for their own airport at Cardiff, whereas over here some politicians (Liam Fox for one) think the time has come to call a halt to further expansion at Bristol.

Contrast this to the attitude of a prospective Tory MEP for S Wales, with whom I engaged in correspondence last year. His attitude is the more flights they can get out of Cardiff the better for their region.

I never believe airports should be allowed to expand in any way they might wish.

I just think Bristol's expansion plans are entirely reasonable and, if anything, modest.

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Message 14 - posted by wessex_now, Dec 20, 2006

Interesting point Donnelly. This sounds like another attempt by exeter to bash Bristol and highlights the jealosy it holds for our city. It makes no sense economically for FlyBe to move out of bristol airport but, as you say, someone else will see the opportunity and grab their trade.

I see that exeter airport is also opposed to expansions at Newquay airport. Frankly, I think there is room in the region for three or four airports (including bournemouth) and, in the interest of reducing pollution from long car journeys I would have thought we would all prefer to use the airport most local to us.

My message to exeter is to get over itself. Your pretentions of being a regional capital is a joke and frankly it's becoming boring! Learn to live and let live.
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Message 15 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Dec 20, 2006

Hi there, wessex.

I don’t think Exeter airport has any say in Flybe’s apparent decision to withdraw many of its Bristol services. Indeed, Flybe has given ‘public warnings’ to Exeter airport on two occasions this year that it will consider withdrawing completely or reducing services from that airport. The first time was when a proposed airport fire fighters’ strike threatened to bring chaos to Exeter airport and the second the recent statement about Flybe not liking the choice of preferred bidder.

Flybe now appears to have come to an agreement with Exeter airport’s preferred bidder since my previous post, because it has announced new routes from there for next year. No surprise there because Flybe is Exeter’s only scheduled carrier, apart from the tiny Isles of Scilly Skybus, and it simply could not afford to lose this airline.

The situation with Bristol airport remains unclear. Bristol airport’s preliminary time-table for next summer ignores all routes currently flown by BAConnect (the airline Flybe has agreed in principle to purchase), contenting itself with a note saying that those interested should monitor the airport’s website for further news.

There are rumours circulating that Flybe will now gradually reduce its services from Bristol and may keep two or three of the current BACon aircraft there for the summer. There are also rumours that the takeover talks are not progressing as well as was hoped by the parties (BA and Flybe). All should become clear early in 2007.

I agree with you that there is room for a number of airports in the South West for the reasons you outlined. You mentioned Exeter, Newquay and Bournemouth. There is also the small Plymouth City airport and the even smaller Gloucestershire airport at Staverton as well as Southampton, although the latter is strictly not within the government’s South West Region.

However, because of the population size and economic strength of the Bristol region, Bristol airport will always be the largest by some degree, as it is at the moment: unless the airport is prevented from expanding in a meaningful way.

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Message 16 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Dec 20, 2006

Flybe has just anounced that the target date for the takeover of BACon to be completed has been put back until 31 January 2007.

With much of the country under a blanket of fog today that has brought chaos to many airports, Bristol airport (with one of the worst weather records of any airport in the UK) has remained open all day thus far.

Exeter (which boasts one of the best weather records) and Cardiff have been closed all day and Bristol has taken diversions from these airports as well as from others.

Shows how perverse the weather can be and doubtless Bristol airport will get its share of the fog at some point.

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Message 17 - posted by ChrisGlastonbury, Dec 22, 2006

With the current problems with Fog and so many airports having problems with their flights it just goes to show how useful Bristol Airport is.

It's still operating and the only issues there's been with flights are those from airports that are fog bound.

I'd much prefer to use Bristol Airport than have to travel all the way up to Heathrow or Gatwick.

Imagine if Bristol Airport was expanded, how many car journeys would be saved reducing all that polution. Bristol plans to double it's passenger numbers to 9 million per year. Even if there was 4 people per car then this will save approx 4 million return car journeys per year. That's quite a saving on polution. Yes, ok the planes produce it but they're going to fly from somewhere whether it be Bristol or some other airport so stopping Bristol Airport expanding isn't necessarily going to stop the flights taking place.
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Message 18 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Dec 22, 2006


I agree with you that Bristol airport is a useful facility, as are all regional airports for their communities.

Just a slight correction to figures. To reach 9 million annual passengers Bristol airport will have to increase its current numbers by just under 60%, not double them as many airport expansion protestors would have us believe.

The number of flights will not increase by anywhere near 60% because larger aircraft are increasingly being used.

In the 12-month period ending 30 November 5,704,083 passengers passed through Bristol airport’s terminal (Civil Aviation Authority stats).

To put Bristol into perspective within the south and south west corner of Britain, the other important airports’ 12-month figures are:

Cardiff 1,984,461; Southampton 1,909,899; Exeter 961,330; Bournemouth 951,689.

It will be seen that Bristol carries almost as many passengers as the other four put together, which shows its importance to the region as a whole.

I happened to be at Bristol airport today seeing someone off. The fog was incredibly thick at times and, although many of the mainly smaller regional jets and turbo props were either diverted or cancelled because they are not equipped to use the airport’s Cat 3b instrument landing system, a substantial number of larger passenger jets was able to land.

The pilots must also be Cat 3 certified and today was a prime example of how skilled these men and women are.
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Message 19 - posted by TheLocalYokel, Feb 21, 2007

At a meeting last night North Somerset Council refused to accept Bristol airport's master plan as a basis for future planning applications.

The council has concerns about the absence of a sustainable road strategy on traffic growth, the increase in onsite parking and expansion outside the airport's current boundaries.

Councillors also believe there should be an environmental impact and biodiversity assessment as well as a study of the plan's impact on local businesses.

The master plan is not a statutory document but acceptance by the council would probably have eased the planning application process from the airport's point of view.

Given the strength of feeling within a well-organised anti-expansion lobby it can be expected that the individual planning applications that are expected in the next few months will give rise to much interest and controversy.

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Message 20 - posted by Molly Cule, Feb 21, 2007

North Somerset has the worst record for planning in the country. They just love to say ''no''. The number one in the department is as bright as a Toc H Lamp, so don't expect any wonderfull scheme to come out of the application. This will drag on as per Tropicana, Silica etc etc etc.
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