Scenarios for the airport

Using the five pillars as our guiding principles, and taking the ten design considerations into account, we set out in the following page some example scenarios that illustrate what a circa 20 million passengers a year Bristol Airport could look like.


Fitting it all together

The plan below shows how Bristol Airport’s site will look once we have completed all the development consented by North Somerset Council in 2011. Our next Master Plan will set out our preferred strategy for the airport’s development up to 2050. We will publish a draft version in spring 2018 for further consultation. We would like your thoughts on Scenarios A, B and C. These are just three examples of how the airport could look. We will revise our proposals, taking your views into account. It should be noted that in all scenarios, an increase in runway length is not proposed.

How to read the plans

The drawings indicate possible future layouts if the airport were to meet projected future passenger demand of circa 20 million passengers per year by the mid-2040s. They assume the necessary land can be acquired beyond the current constrained site, within a supportive planning framework, and that major transport infrastructure can be delivered in tandem with airport growth. The plans are indicative only, giving a broad idea of land-use considerations. No assumptions should be made with regard to commercial viability or operational requirements.


Current planning approval layout

Scenario Current Plan

Example scenario A

Scenario A

This approach is one of broad continuity. It would see the current layout evolve gradually over time, through phased development and land acquisition.

  • The inclusion of additional land to the north-west would provide for new aviation capacity – new aircraft piers, parking aprons and taxiways – whilst retaining the present terminal, and allowing for its gradual expansion to meet demand. As envisaged in the existing planning permission, multi-storey car parking, a ‘drop-off zone’, and a public transport interchange (possibly incorporating a rail or other mass transit station) would be directly opposite the terminal, with the sloping topography used to good effect; mitigating the visual impact and allowing convenient pedestrian access between buildings.

  • Additional surface car parking would be provided to the west, but in the longer term the area could form an extension to the employment land, once mass transit is delivered and/or there is the predicted long-term shift in car ownership and use (with shared and automated vehicles).

  • The scale and topography of an enlarged site would allow the western aircraft apron extension to sit above a large under-croft substructure, with ancillary uses such as baggage handling, service roads, and passenger tunnels screened from view. South of the runway, the current Silver Zone surface car parking areas would be extended, partly within the current site boundary, wrapping around an expanded aviation park for additional aircraft maintenance hangars and engineering facilities.

  • This north side area would be accessed from an improved A38 junction and an internal loop road; this would allow for an improved ‘campus’ style layout, possibly with additional hotels and the potential for around 15 hectares of related development and employment land. The realignment of the airport’s A38 and Downside Road frontages would be subject to additional land acquisition, but would provide an improved environment, with an opportunity for both substantial screening and high quality architecture to mark the airport entrance.


Example scenario B

Scenario B

This approach differs from A, in that it takes a more imaginative leap into the world of 2035 and beyond with a new replacement terminal.

  • The new building would be sited centrally within an enlarged site, allowing for both a more rational airport layout, and the incorporation of much of its ‘back of house’ functions within the under-croft substructure (as described under Scenario A). The topography and the central siting of the terminal would provide the ‘front of house’ with an opportunity for an exciting architectural statement.


  • The terminal’s iconic ‘gateway’ architecture would be set within imaginative urban space, a plaza at the very heart of the airport. This could take the form of an amphitheatre (taking advantage of the site’s slope), providing a venue for community or commercial
    events, as well as setting for other key buildings, including a public transport interchange and hotels. One option would be to incorporate a potential rail/mass transit station below the plaza and adjoining public spaces.

  • This approach would be mirrored on the southern side, where a secondary ‘check-in’ facility could provide users of the extensive Silver Zone area with a more convenient service. Subterranean tunnels for passenger and baggage transport access directly to the new terminal would bring a step change in the travel experience.

  • Other elements of this scenario, (including land acquisition) would be similar to those described in Scenario A. 


Example scenario C

Scenario C

This approach includes a second terminal to complement the existing building; this would be located to the south of the runway. It would avoid the need for significant land take to the north-west, although additional land would be required to the south. It would bring some operational advantages in terms of increased apron capacity.

  • The look and feel of the North Side area would be broadly similar to today, albeit with an improved A38 junction and new multi-storey car parks, and, in the longer term, with the prospect of rail/m ass transit infrastructure. Additional landscaping could further enhance the area, but the options for this and any additional employment opportunities would be constrained by the existing site boundaries. The additional capacity for future growth would be met almost entirely on the opposite side of the runway. Here large areas of existing surface car parking could be transformed to provide modern facilities, with the potential to link the two terminals via tunnels under the runway.

  • ‘Terminal 2’ could be built to the same high standards as in Scenario B. Phasing may be more difficult than with A or B, and the timing and logistics of splitting the site would require detailed planning.

  • Additional taxiways to both north and south of the runway would be required to facilitate increased aircraft movement to and from the runway and aircraft parking aprons.

  • A re-alignment of the southern and eastern (A38) boundaries would create both a more rational development area and the capacity for additional and displaced car parking. In addition, the possibility of siting a mass transit station in this area cannot be discounted at this stage, and this in turn could act as a focal point for related development and employment land. This would also need to benefit from an upgraded junction on the A38.

  • The impact on views across the Mendip Hills would necessitate a strong emphasis on reducing and mitigating potential visual impact.

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