Our story

How it all started


For six decades, Bristol Airport has served passengers travelling to and from the South West of England and South Wales. Today, we handle more than eight million passengers, serving almost as many in a single busy day as we did in our first full year of operation back in 1957.



Bristol’s aviation heritage

When Bristol Airport opened at Lulsgate Bottom in May 1957 the civil airline industry was in its infancy, but Bristol’s place in aviation history was already assured. Flights from Filton ceased in 2012. It remains a major production site for Airbus and is also home to the Aerospace Bristol attraction. The city’s previous airport at Whitchurch had an important (and at times glamorous) role ferrying statesmen, spies and film stars during the Second World War. On the city’s north side, Filton Aerodrome was becoming a centre of aerospace excellence and it was from there in 1969 that one of the first British Concordes achieved supersonic flight.


Bristol’s modern airport is born

Unlike its predecessor, the city’s new municipal airport was purpose-built to serve Bristol and the surrounding regions. In the 1960s, more people started to holiday abroad. A new generation of passenger jets meant adding a new control tower, terminal extensions and cargo shed and extending the runway.


Celebrating 60 years

In May 2017, we celebrated 60 years on our current site, and two special aircraft showed up for the party. A DC-3 – a mainstay of commercial airline fleets in the fifties – returned to Bristol for the first time since making its final passenger flight nine years ago. The  Dakota lined up next to its modern-day equivalent – a new Airbus A319 named Spirit of Bristol – to mark the airport’s anniversary.

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