RAF Lulsgate Bottom: Wikis


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Bristol Airport
Bristol international airport logo.gif
Bristol airport overview.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator South West Airports Limited
Serves Bristol
Location Lulsgate Bottom, North Somerset
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 622 ft / 190 m
Coordinates 51°22′58″N 002°43′09″W / 51.38278°N 2.71917°W / 51.38278; -2.71917Coordinates: 51°22′58″N 002°43′09″W / 51.38278°N 2.71917°W / 51.38278; -2.71917
Website www.bristolairport.co.uk
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,011 6,598 Asphalt
Statistics (2009)
Movements 70,245
Passengers 5,642,921
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Bristol Airport (IATA: BRSICAO: EGGD), located at Lulsgate Bottom in North Somerset, is the commercial airport serving the city of Bristol, England and the surrounding area. At first it was named Bristol Lulsgate Airport and from March 1997 to March 2010 it was known as Bristol International Airport.[3] In 2003, the airport drew 45% of its passengers from the former county of Avon area, 13% from Devon, 10% from Somerset and 10% from Wales.[4] In 2009 it was the ninth busiest airport in the United Kingdom, handling 5,642,921 passengers, a 10.0% reduction since 2008.[2]

The airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (number P432) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers and for flying instruction.



In 1927 a group of local businessmen raised £6,000 through public subscription to start a flying club at Filton Aerodrome.[5] By 1929 the club had become a success and it was decided that a farm located in Whitchurch near Bristol would be developed into an airport. In 1930, Prince George, son of King George V opened Bristol (Whitchurch) Airport — becoming the third such airport in the United Kingdom. Passenger numbers grew from 935 in 1930 to over 4,000 in 1939.

During World War II, Bristol's Whitchurch Airport was the only civil airport still in operation in the UK, meaning all flights usually bound for London were terminated in Bristol. The newly formed British Overseas Airways Corporation were dispersed to Whitchurch from Croydon and Gatwick Airports. They operated on routes to Lisbon, Portugal and to some other neutral nations.


RAF Lulsgate Bottom

In September 1940 No 10 Elementary Flying Training School at Weston super Mare established a Relief Landing Ground on 14 acres (57,000 m2) at Broadfield Down by the hamlet of Lulsgate Bottom, near Redhill. Being high, at 600 feet (180 m), the site had a poor weather record, during warm front conditions when it was often covered in low cloud. However, when this occurred the alternate airfields at Filton and Cardiff were clear and operational; and as Lulsgate was clear when the low-lying airfields were obscured by radiation fog in calm weather, it was agreed to open the facility.

In 1941 Fighter Command used the site for an experimental unit, and after requisitioning land from several adjacent farms, contracted Geo. Wimpey & Co to begin work on 11 June 1941. The main runway was 3,900 ft (1,200 m) long, and the first aircraft to land was a Luftwaffe Ju 88 at 06.20 on 24 July 1941. Returning from a raid, it was confused by the RAF electronic countermeasures radio beacon at Lympsham, which was re-radiating the signal from a Luftwaffe homing beacon at Brest, France.

The airfield was declared operational on 15 January 1942, with the Miles Masters, Airspeed Oxfords and Hawker Hurricanes of No. 286 (Ack-ack Cooperation) Squadron becoming resident, in their duties to provide realistic exercises to ground anti-aircraft defences. However, as the site lacked some uncompleted basic facilities, No. 286 moved to RAF Zeals in May, and handed the site back to Flying Training Command. No. 3 Flying Instructor School took up residence, re-training ex-operational bomber crews to teach at Operational Training Units.[6]

Cambrian Airways Vickers Viscount loads at Bristol Airport in 1963
Aviation Traders Carvair and the tail of an Airspeed Ambassador, at Bristol Airport in 1965

Lulsgate Bottom Airfield

On the cessation of war activities, and the reduced need for pilot training, the RAF ceased training at the site April 14, 1946, and abandoned it completely from October 1946. From 1948, the site was the home of the Bristol Gliding Club. In 1948 and 1949, the Bristol Motor Cycle and Light Car Club hosted motor races on a 2-mile (3.2 km) circuit, but due to planning and noise issues moved in 1950 to a site that became known as Castle Combe Circuit.[6]

Bristol Lulsgate Airport

Whitchurch continued to be used after WW2, but the introduction of heavier post-war airliners made a runway extension highly desirable. However, this was difficult, because of the proximity of housing estates. Consequently, a decision was taken to develop a new airport on the site at Lulsgate Bottom Airfield. Sold to the Bristol Corporation in 1955 for £55,000, the gliding club moved to Nympsfield.[6]

The new airport was called Bristol Lulsgate Airport, and was opened in 1957 by Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. All of the Whitchurch airline operations and the Bristol and Wessex Aeroplane Club moved there, which in its first year was used by 33,000 people.[7] In 1963 the runway was lengthened and in 1965 extensions were made to the terminal. In 1968 a new 5,000 square foot (460 m²) building was constructed.[7] In 1974 the airline "Court Line" collapsed, causing a fall in passenger numbers.

By 1980, 17 charter airlines were operating from the airport. Additions in 1984 included an international departure lounge, duty free shops, a 24-hour air-side bar, an arrivals concourse, and a short-term car park. On 1 April 1987 all employees were transferred from Bristol City Council to Bristol Airport Public limited company. The operation and net assets of Bristol Airport were transferred from the City of Bristol and the company commenced trading. Over the next few years business boomed with over 100,000 passengers each month in the summer of 1988. The growth of the airport at this time is attributed to the work of the managing director Les Wilson, who died in a car crash in November 1995.

Bristol International Airport

Terminal building check-in area

In March 1997 the airport's name was changed to Bristol International Airport, and in December 1997 51% of the airport company was sold to FirstGroup plc, while the remaining 49% was retained by Bristol City Council.[5] A new terminal building was built in April 1999 and opened in March 2000. In 2000, passenger numbers exceeded two million for the first time.[7]

The airport was purchased by Macquarie Bank and Cintra in January 2001 for £198m.[7] Passenger numbers passed through three million in 2002,[5] largely due to the arrival of the low-cost carrier Go Fly. Continued expansion by EasyJet led to another increase in passengers — to 3.8 million. In May 2005, Continental Airlines introduced a direct flight from Bristol to Newark with Boeing 757 aircraft.[5]

Macquarie's stake was spun off as part of MAp Airports in 2009.

The terminal building does not yet have jetways, so all aircraft park on the apron and passengers either walk out to their flights, or are carried by bus.

The airport does not have jetways so all passengers must disembark down steps on to the apron

Bristol Airport

In March 2010, the airport was rebranded as Bristol Airport.[8] The airport gained a new logo, said by the airport's owners to represent ‘people’, ‘place’ and ‘region’; and a new slogan "Amazing Journeys Start Here".[3]

Proposed expansion

Having created plans for an extension, in October 2007 the airport announced that it would delay the planning application until the middle of 2008 to give it time to complete research on the airport's effect on the environment.[9] This news came just a week after the World Development Movement stated that flights from the airport generate the same amount of CO2 as the nation of Malawi.[10] Plans for the expansion of the airport have been now completed and are to be submitted to the council for approval in summer 2008.

A coalition to fight the expansion, known as Stop Bristol Airport Expansion has been formed by Bristol Friends of the Earth, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and other groups and individuals in North Somerset, Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset.

In early 2008, an opposition to the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion campaign was launched to support the expansion and operations of the airport. Named BISON - Bristol International Supporters Group - it is targeted at the travelling public.

A desision is due on the 3 March after a meeting at Weston-Super-Mare Town Hall.

The control tower

2007 resurfacing controversy

On 5 January 2007 many flights were cancelled or diverted, including all EasyJet and XL Airways flights. This was due to braking action on the runway not being the required standard for safe stopping in wet conditions. Virtually all of the operations were moved to Cardiff Airport by these two airlines. EasyJet moved 60% of its operations to Cardiff during this weekend of disruption.

The problem arose from a new £17 million asphalt runway surface not being sufficiently grooved to allow water run off. Although the new runway was given Civil Aviation Authority clearance on 4 January 2007, there had been a number of incidents over the previous four weeks, with aircraft unable to stop without running over the operating limits of the runway.

A British Airways spokeswoman said it would not operate flights if the runway moisture levels were above a certain level, and the airline cancelled several of its flights.[11]

On Sunday 7 January 2007, following further cancellations, Bristol Airport management made the decision to close the runway from 14:30 for work to resolve the problem. The runway remained closed during Monday 8 January.[12] An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report, released in January 2009, reported that there were two serious incidents where aircraft left the runway in December 2006.[13][14] The report highlighted technical faults with the runway surface, and operational problems with the airlines and the airport operator.

Airlines and destinations

Scheduled services

Airlines Destinations
Aer Arann Cork [ends 27 March]
Aer Lingus Regional operated by Aer Arann Cork [begins 28 March]
Air France operated by Airlinair Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Air Southwest Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester, Newquay, Plymouth
Aurigny Air Services Guernsey
Brussels Airlines operated by BMI Regional Brussels
Continental Airlines Newark
Eastern Airways Aberdeen
EasyJet Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bastia [resumes 23 May], Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bodrum [begins 17 July; seasonal], Bordeaux [resumes 30 March], Corfu [resumes 29 March], Dalaman [begins 16 July; seasonal] Edinburgh, Faro, Funchal, Geneva, Glasgow-International, Grenoble, Heraklion [begins 17 July; seasonal], Innsbruck, Inverness, Kraków, La Rochelle [resumes 25 May], Lisbon [resumes 29 March], Madrid, Málaga, Marseille [resumes 26 June], Milan-Malpensa [ends 12 April], Murcia, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nice, Olbia [resumes 22 May], Palma de Mallorca, Paphos [begins 14 April], Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pisa, Prague, Rome-Ciampino, Split [resumes 22 May], Tenerife-South [begins 30 March], Toulouse.
Flybe Isle of Man [begins 30 March][15], Jersey
Isles of Scilly Skybus Isles of Scilly [seasonal]
KLM operated by KLM Cityhopper Amsterdam
Ostfriesische Lufttransport Bremen
Ryanair Alicante, Belfast-City, Bergerac, Béziers, Bratislava, Budapest, Bydgoszcz [begins 1 May], Dublin, Faro [begins 28 March], Gdansk [begins 28 March], Girona, Kaunas [begins 3 May], Knock, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Limoges, Málaga, Malta, Marrakech, Milan-Orio al Serio, Palma de Mallorca [begins 28 March], Porto, Poznań, Reus, Riga, Rimini, Rzeszów, Seville, Shannon [ends 27 March], Tenerife-South, Valencia, Venice-Treviso [begins 29 March], Wrocław

Charter services

Airlines Destinations
Air Europa Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South
Air Malta Malta [seasonal]
BH Air Bourgas, Sofia
Eurocypria Airlines Larnaca [seasonal]
KoralBlue Airlines Sharm el-Sheikh
Austrian Airlines operated by Lauda Air Innsbruck [seasonal]
Onur Air Bodrum [begins 3 May], Dalaman [seasonal]
Thomas Cook Airlines Antalya [seasonal], Bodrum [seasonal], Corfu [seasonal], Dalaman [seasonal], Faro [seasonal], Fuerteventura, Grenoble [seasonal], Heraklion [seasonal], Ibiza [seasonal], Kos [seasonal], Lanzarote, Larnaca [seasonal], Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Minorca [seasonal], Monastir, Naples [seasonal], Palma de Mallorca [seasonal], Paphos [seasonal], Reus [seasonal], Rhodes [seasonal], Rovaniemi [seasonal], Salzburg [seasonal], Sharm el-Sheikh seasonal], Tenerife-South, Zakynthos [seasonal]
Thomson Airways Alicante [seasonal], Antalya [begins 4 May, seasonal], Bodrum [seasonal], Cancún [seasonal], Corfu [seasonal], Dalaman [seasonal], Faro [seasonal], Fuerteventura, Heraklion [seasonal], Ibiza [seasonal], Kefalonia [seasonal], Lanzarote, Larnaca [seasonal], Las Palmas de Gran Canaria [seasonal], Luxor [begins 3 November;seasonal], Málaga [seasonal], Malta [begins 4 May, seasonal], Minorca [seasonal], Monastir [seasonal], Naples [seasonal], Orlando-Sanford [seasonal], Palma de Mallorca [seasonal], Paphos [seasonal], Pula [begins 4 May, seasonal], Reus [seasonal], Rhodes [seasonal], Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Thessaloniki [seasonal], Verona [seasonal], Zakynthos [seasonal]
Viking Airlines Arrecife, Bodrum, Corfu, Dalaman [begins 3 May], Funchal [Begins 17 March] Heraklion, Kefalonia [begins 1 May], Kos, Skiathos [begins 7 May], Tenerife-South, Verona, Zakynthos [begins 2 May]

Mail services

Airlines Destinations
MiniLiner Newcastle
Titan Airways Edinburgh
Atlantic Airlines Bournemouth


10 Busiest Current Routes out of Bristol Airport (2009)
Rank Airport Passengers handled 2008-2009 Change Airlines that serve(d)
1  Ireland - Dublin Airport 287,632 9% Ryanair
3  Great Britain - Edinburgh Airport 235,196 6% Easyjet
2  Netherlands - Amsterdam Airport 230,341 6% Easyjet, KLM
4  Great Britain - Glasgow Airport 212,253 4% Easyjet
5  Spain - Alicante Airport 210,282 8% Easyjet, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
6  Great Britain - Newcastle Airport 187,022 7% Easyjet
7  Spain - Málaga Airport 184,845 9% Easyjet, Ryanair, Thomson Airways
8  Spain - Palma Airport 177,433 14% Aer Europa, Easyjet, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways
9  France - Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 167,739 17% Air France, Easyjet
10  Great Britain - Belfast International Airport 163,459 29% Easyjet
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [1]


Bristol Airport has one of the shortest international airport runways in the country at 2,011 metres. Therefore large aircraft are rarely used due to weight restrictions.[16] The largest aircraft operating regularly at Bristol is the Boeing 767 operated by Thomson Airways.[citation needed]

Transport connections

The Bristol International Flyer picking up at Bristol Temple Meads railway station

Bristol International Airport is located on the A38, 8 miles (13 km) south of Bristol city centre. The airport is signposted from the M5, from junction 22 when approaching from the south and junction 18 when approaching from the north. Neither gives quick access to the airport, a fact which is recognised by the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study.[17] A number of solutions have been proposed, including a new link road between the A38 and the A371 but nothing has been approved.

The Bristol International Flyer bus service operates to and from Bristol calling at Bedminster, Bristol Temple Meads railway station, and Bristol Bus station. Some services continue to Clifton. The service takes 30 minutes from the city centre and can be booked as part of a rail journey, changing between train and bus at Bristol Temple Meads.[18]

A bus service to and from Weston-super-Mare operates every two hours, service number 121.[19] Both services are operated by FirstGroup.

General aviation

Bristol Airport is a general aviation (GA) centre. In 2006 the GA terminal was relocated from the north side next to the control tower, to a purpose-built facility on the south east corner of the field. There are two GA organisations based at Bristol. All GA handling for visiting aircraft is managed by Bristol Flying Centre, which also provides pilot training and engineering services. Bristol & Wessex Aeroplane Club provides pilot training on both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.

Accidents and incidents

See also


  1. ^ Bristol - EGGD
  2. ^ a b UK Airport Statistics: 2009 - annual
  3. ^ a b "New vision unveiled ten years on from terminal opening". Bristol Airport. 12 March 2010. http://www.bristolairport.co.uk/news-and-press/latest-news/2010/3/bristol-branch-launch-unveil.aspx. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Bristol International Airport Master Plan 2006 to 2030, November 2006
  5. ^ a b c d "The History of Bristol Airport". The Airport Guides. http://www.airportguides.co.uk/guides/bristol/history.html. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  6. ^ a b c "Lulsgate - Bristol Airport". Chew76. http://www.chew76.fsnet.co.uk/lulsgate/lulsgate.html. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  7. ^ a b c d "History". Bristol International Airport. http://www.bristolairport.co.uk/news_and_press/History.aspx. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  8. ^ "Rebranded Bristol Airport drops the International". Bristol Evening Post. 12 March 2010. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/homepage/Rebranded-Bristol-Airport-drops-International/article-1907793-detail/article.html. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Airport expansion plans grounded". BBC News. 20 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7054255.stm. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  10. ^ "Airport CO2 rivals African nation". BBC News. 11 October 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7039098.stm. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Flights cancelled in safety row". BBC News. 5 January 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/6233487.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  12. ^ "Safety row disrupts ten airlines". BBC News. 6 January 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/6236543.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  13. ^ "Report finds runway 'was unsafe'". BBC News. 9 January 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7819334.stm. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  14. ^ "Report No: 1/2009". Air Accidents Investigation Branch. 9 January 2009. http://www.aaib.gov.uk/sites/aaib/publications/formal_reports/1_2009_g_xlac_g_bdwa_g_embo.cfm. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  15. ^ http://www.bristolairport.co.uk/flight-information/destinations/times.aspx?destination=IOM
  16. ^ Bristol International Airport - Master Plan
  17. ^ "Surface Access Strategy 2006 to 2001" (PDF). Bristol International Airport. September 2006. http://www.bristolairport.co.uk/upload/bia_surface_access_strategy.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  18. ^ "Bristol International Flyer Airport Express Link". Bristol International Airport. http://flyer.bristolairport.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  19. ^ "FirstGroup - UK Bus Bristol, Bath and the West". FirstGroup. http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/southwest/bristol/timetables/index.php?operator=3&service=121&page=1&redirect=no. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  20. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19700119-0. Retrieved 8 October 2009. 

External links


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