Passenger numbers at Bristol Airport have risen for the third successive year.
The number of people passing through the terminal was up 2.8 per cent compared to the previous year, making Bristol the only airport in the UK’s top ten to see growth each year since the end of 2009.
A total of 5.9 million passengers used Bristol Airport over the course of the year, including record monthly totals in June and July.
In October, Bristol welcomed a new airline when bmi regional commenced a double-daily service to Aberdeen, with further flights to Frankfurt and Hamburg to follow from February.
New routes included easyJet services to Copenhagen and Naples, and a three-times weekly Ryanair flight to Warsaw Modlin.
The rise in passenger numbers was achieved with fewer flights, with the total number of aircraft movements down by 7.3 per cent – a decrease of almost 5,000 flights as a result of airlines operating larger aircraft with high load factors.
Robert Sinclair, chief executive at Bristol Airport, said: “These figures are a very positive signal that the South West economy is moving in the right direction.
“The resurgence in business travel has been particularly strong with several airlines, including KLM and Brussels Airlines, adding capacity on routes to major European hub airports.
“We expect this growth to continue throughout 2013, with further route announcements in the pipeline.”
The first phase of development which will ultimately enable Bristol Airport to handle ten million passengers per annum was completed in June when three new aircraft stands were opened by the then transport secretary, Justine Greening.
Other improvements included the construction of an additional immigration facility and an expanded security search area, both aimed at increasing the efficiency of essential processes at peak times.
Work is currently underway on a new executive lounge, which will be 50 per cent larger than the existing facility and will offer hot food and different zones in which passengers can work or relax before boarding their flights.