Bristol Airport to invest £2.6m in upgrading its passenger departure lounge

January 20, 2022
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A major redevelopment of Bristol Airport’s airside departure lounge is due to start on Monday.

The £2.6m, three-month project, which will create dozens of jobs, aims to improve the shopping and dining experience for passengers before they board their flights. 

The lounge’s retail units will get a facelift while the WHSmith store is to be expanded to incorporate the firm’s InMotion technology brand.

InMotion, which was acquired by WHSmith in 2018 and introduced across its UK airport outlets, is now the largest airport-based technology retailer in the world.

According to Bristol Airport, the enlarged WHSmith store will bring a unique shopping experience to passengers with a wide range of mobile accessories and gadgets including noise-cancelling and wireless headphones, speakers, tablets, digital action cameras, fitness trackers and portable power.

Food and drink retailer SSP UK & Ireland, which specialises in the travel market and has operated a number of units at Bristol Airport for 14 years, is also to expand its presence in the lounge as a result of the upgrade.

As well as opening a Tortilla Mexican restaurant it will relaunch its airside bar under a new as-yet-undisclosed brand that it says will reflect the heritage of the region while also upgrading its Cabin bar and Ritazza coffee shop.

Sports retailer JD Sports is to relocate its store to a much larger unit in the departure lounge and global foreign exchange operator Global Exchange Group is to open its first branch at the airport. 

The lounge, pictured above, was previously enlarged in 2015 with hundreds of new seats, new retail units and an outdoor terrace area, pictured right, as part of a £8.6m extension of the airport’s east terminal.

Prior to the pandemic the airport, the airport was handling more than 9m passengers a year, making it the UK’s ninth busiest and England’s third largest regional airport.

Bristol Airport head of commercial Tom Hack said: “This is an exciting project and opportunity for Bristol Airport and its customer facilities.

“The investment in the enhancements of the commercial amenities shows a very clear sign of the confidence our commercial partners have in Bristol Airport and vice versa.

“The redevelopments will create dozens of new jobs as the airport sees a continued passenger growth since the Covid pandemic. 

“Our customers’ holidays start in our departure lounge and it is very important for us to provide them with the best possible experience.

“We understand that our leisure and business customers have high expectations when travelling through Bristol Airport and we will continue to strive to meet their requirements.

“We are very confident that the investment and redevelopment in our departure lounge will provide a greater passenger experience as we offer new places to shop, eat, drink and relax before flying.”

The work is expected to be completed in time for the Easter holiday getaway. Earlier this month the airport became only the second in the UK to open a purpose-built sensory room for passengers with autism, dementia or cognitive impairment.

The room provides a safe, private and interactive space where users with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) can feel relaxed when in unfamiliar surroundings.

In a separate move, the airport has re-appointed ICTS UK & Ireland as its security partner responsible for providing all its security services/passenger screening.

The new contract, the length of which has not been disclosed, continues a 15-year partnership between the airport and ICTS, which provides security services to 11 UK and Irish airports.

 

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