Bristol Airport has big, and controversial, expansion plans – with the aim of increasing the number of places you can fly to from the runway at Lulsgate.
But while it may be the dream of many to be able to go across the Atlantic direct from Bristol, the reality is that there’s one place that is by far and away the most popular destination reached by plane from Bristol.
Bristol Airport serves many capital cities and holiday destinations right across Europe.
But if you see someone catching a flight from Bristol Airport, there’s a pretty good chance they are flying to one place – Palma in Majorca.
New statistics have revealed that Bristol Airport is used by hundreds of thousands of passengers taking flights every year, and the numbers show just how many are to the holiday destinations of Spain.
In June, July and August last year, the official figures from the Civil Aviation Authority showed that there were a total of 676,428 passenger trips between Bristol and Spanish airports.
(Image: Western Daily Press)
That, amazingly, is three times more than any other country that is a destination from Bristol Airport.
In fact, it is even higher.
The Canary Islands, including Tenerife, are part of Spain but counted separately by the CAA. There were actually 128,381 trips to and from Bristol Airport to the Canary Islands during June, July and August, so if they were added to the Spanish total, it would easily pass 800,000 passenger journeys in just three months.
Nearly one in four of those trips was to Palma on the Balearic island of Majorca – a total of 159,994 people flew either to or from Bristol and Palma in the three summer months of last year – that’s a staggering 1,739 every single day.
Flights to and from Spain and Bristol easily outstrip most of the rest of Europe put together – we love getting to Spain from Bristol far more than anywhere else.
While more than 800,000 trips were taken between BS48 to Spain in three months, the next most popular country was Greece, with CAA figures revealing during the same period, 204,563 passenger journeys took place.
Greece was the only other place with more than 200,000 passenger journeys in those three months last year. France was third with 194,329 and Italy fifth with 183,762.
Britain has been experiencing hotter, drier, more reliable summer weather, meaning ‘staycations’ are more popular – especially with concerns over the carbon footprint of flying a couple of hours to Spain to have a holiday.
But despite this, the number of trips is growing hugely.
Back in 2015, the number of trips taken between Bristol and Spain – excluding the Canaries – was 537,125.
That has been steadily soaring like a plane heading south from North Somerset.
It rose by almost 100,000 between 2015 and 2016, to 613,011.
It rose again, slightly less dramatically, in 2017 to 652,028 and even more in 2018.
After Palma, another Spanish resort airport was the second most popular.
In 2018 for those three months, there were 118,902 journeys between Bristol and Malaga.
Dublin was just behind – 118,170
Amsterdam just behind that – 116,298
Across Britain, our love affair with flying and going to Spain appears not to be diminishing, despite pleas from environmentalists calling for people to think of the climate crisis and stop flying unless they absolutely have to.
There were 12.6 million trips between UK and Spanish airports – not including the Canary Islands – in summer last year.
That compared to 6.7 million journeys between the UK and the USA – the second most popular summertime destination.
(Image: Ruth Davey)
Italy (5.0 million) was third, Germany (4.1 million) was fourth, and France (3.9 million) fifth.
Greece, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, the Canary Islands and Portugal completed the top 10. France (194,329) third and Italy (183,762) was fifth.