Boost to economy expected as easyJet launches new flights from Bristol Airport this weekend

April 17, 2015

Five new flights from Bristol Airport take off for the first time this weekend – with operator easyJet promising they will bring a major boost to the West of England’s economy.

The new services – to Lanzarote, Gibraltar, Porto, Bilbao and the Isle of Man – take easyJet’s total at the airport to 53, strengthening its position as the airline’s second-most important UK base.

As well as offering holidaymakers a chance to fly to new destinations – the Gibraltar services is the first ever from Bristol – the new routes will offer a boost to firms doing business in those locations, with one in five seats expected to be bought by business travellers.

They will also bring a significant boost to the region as a global tourist destination. EasyJet estimates around 185,000 passengers will travel on the new routes, with many coming to the West of England for holidays, leisure breaks or to visit family.

The Gibraltar service could be particularly important, according to easyJet’s UK commercial manager Ali Gayward, who visited Bristol today ahead of the weekend launches.

She said: “People from Gibraltar have been lobbying for this new flight.”

EasyJet’s growth at Bristol is being driven by the airport’s own expansion, Ms Gayward added. The airline handles around 3.7m passengers a year through Bristol. Last year it signed a five-year agreement with the airport, part of which included adding a 12th aircraft to its Bristol fleet.

The airport’s eastern extension, plans for an outdoor terrace, extra business lounge and a new on-site hotel are all in progress and playing a part in making it more attractive to airlines, she said. “Bristol is the model of the airport that we want to support.”

Bristol Airport aviation director Shaun Browne added: “Not only will the new destinations provide an improved route network for passengers, the continued growth will bring extra job opportunities and economic benefits to the region.

“The routes will also provide increased inbound tourism opportunities for visitors wishing to visit the West of England and the large variety of tourist attractions and events the region has to offer.”

Commenting on the new Gibraltar link, Ashley Fox, MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar, said: “Gibraltar has always been a bastion of British culture and the gateway to the Mediterranean. For centuries it has had strong links with the South West of England built on the foundation of mutual defence and respect and the sharing of the Royal Navy.

“These bonds can only be strengthened by this direct transport link between the two parts of the region I represent. I would encourage everyone in the South West to visit Gibraltar and enjoy the sun, sea, sand and friendly atmosphere of The Rock and I hope that many Gibraltarians will travel to the South West and enjoy our famous hospitality as well.”

The first of the five new easyJet services starts tomorrow with Lanzarote, followed on Sunday by the inaugural easyJet flights to Gibraltar, Porto, Bilbao and the Isle of Man.

New easyJet services to Zante in Greece and Catania in Sicily will be launched next month.

Pictured, from left: easyJet UK commercial manager Ali Gayward, South West of England & Gibraltar MEP Ashley Fox, and Bristol Airport aviation director Shaun Browne


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