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28 October 2014

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You are in: Dorset > Places > Places features > Flying into the future

Artist's impression of the new terminal building

Artist's impression of the new terminal

Flying into the future

By 2015 Bournemouth Airport hopes to be flying three million passengers - three-times the number it caters for now. BBC Dorset has been finding out how they plan to do it while trying to keep those on the ground on side.

The airport at Hurn is already at capacity. One million passengers jet-off in scheduled and charter flights to holiday and visit friends in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe every year.  Much of the current business stems from the introduction of low-cost carriers.

Plane taking off from Bournemouth Airport

Plane taking off from Bournemouth Airport

The current terminal building though is ageing. The departure lounge sits in a temporary building and some of the other air-side buildings date back to the World War II when the airport first opened.

Its owner Manchester Airport Group therefore felt that drastic action was needed. Last year a £32m expansion plan was approved by planners and endorsed by the government.

£32 million upgrade

The current terminal building will be upgraded, the departure lounge rebuilt, the security area expanded and a new arrivals hall erected.

Although the runway will remain untouched, there will be changes outside. The apron where the planes line-up for passengers to board, will be redesigned so that more planes can fit round and a covered walkway will be built so those flying won't have far to walk or get wet in the rain.

For passengers, upgrading the airport, which was opened in 1941 to serve the war effort, is good news.

Traffic congestion

For others it's not so good news. East Dorset Friends of the Earth (FoE) fears increased traffic generated by two million extra passengers a year will mean intolerable traffic congestion. There's no plan to build a new road but FoE fears there might be in the future especially as the roads near the airport are already very busy.

The airport says they've made great efforts to be a good neighbour. Airport spokeswoman Sally Windsor is keen to point out that two million extra passengers a year won't mean triple the flights.

Airside after the work is completed

Airside after the work is completed

She said: "There will only be one extra flight a day because the planes will be bigger." 

As for aircraft noise for which the airport receives many complaints, a web-based tracking system has been set up so residents can monitor the flights and complain if the planes fail to stick to the correct schedule.

New jobs

Then there are the economic benefits of an expanded airport. It's estimated 1,200 new jobs will be created. It's estimated that the airport is worth £10m to the local economy at present and projections suggest that figure will rise to £57 once the work’s been completed in 2015.

The government is committed to expanding regional airports. Their desire to reduce pressure on the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick meant that Bournemouth's plans to expand were unlikely to be opposed at Westminster.

A new arrivals hall is to be built

A new arrivals hall is to be built

However there's no getting away from the fact that aircraft pollute. Aviation contributes 2% to the UK's carbon emissions and despite good intentions aircraft are never going to be carbon neutral in the near future. 

As the building work gets under way and the flights increase from Bournemouth, keeping those on the ground happy may be easier said than done.

last updated: 21/05/2008 at 16:04
created: 21/05/2008

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