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Route Development

TheLocalYokel

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I've had a look at Belfast International Airport (BFS) which is the next busiest UK airport after BRS - it's approaching 6 mppa.

Interestingly, easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 have presences as have TUI and Thomas Cook. Wizz has one destination and a number of other airlines operate summer charters as they do at BRS.

easyJet is the biggest presence there with 18 routes plus 14 seasonal routes - about half their BRS network. Ryanair has 13 routes plus 2 seasonal, again about half their BRS complement and Jet2 has 6 routes plus 19 seasonal. TUI and TCX have considerably smaller presences than they do at BRS.

So these three low-cost carriers apparently can work alongside easyJet and Ryanair at one of the smaller airports in the country so perhaps it's not entirely out of the question that they could do so at BRS as well.
 

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Marko1

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It's definitely not out of the question. There are other examples two where 3 or more locos co-exist together with the big two holiday carriers. Newcastle for example . I accept that easyJet and/or Ryanair have smaller presences at those bases but they also have a smaller catchment area than bristols. In order to get the growth Bristol is expecting / hoping for , legacy carriers will not deliver it. Another based loco will and there's only one that can and it is jet2. I feel like a broken record but it really would be beneficial
 

TheLocalYokel

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It's definitely not out of the question. There are other examples two where 3 or more locos co-exist together with the big two holiday carriers. Newcastle for example . I accept that easyJet and/or Ryanair have smaller presences at those bases but they also have a smaller catchment area than bristols. In order to get the growth Bristol is expecting / hoping for , legacy carriers will not deliver it. Another based loco will and there's only one that can and it is jet2. I feel like a broken record but it really would be beneficial
The airport is talking about 10 mppa by 2021 and over 12 mppa by 2025. To reach those levels must surely mean something substantial in addition to the current airlines, and you are right about legacy carriers. They would probably only offer one route per carrier and the chances of getting many, if any, don't appear high at the moment.
 

Marko1

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Hmm. The only other way is a very big expansion by one or both of the two existing locos based. An increase of one aircraft and 2 new routes each season by easyJet is not going to do it either.
 

TheLocalYokel

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superking

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There is a bit for april with TC bringing in the second A321. It will mean april will have 2 A321. Does any one know if the A320 will be based again for next summer season.
 

Marko1

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Looking at the seat maps for next April it will be one 321 and one 320 unless that changes .

Given the cryptic clue I'm guessing that growth will be dependent on easyJet. That is a risky move going forward. Apart from some seasonal routes I can't see much more that easy could offer other than greater frequencies
 
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The airport is creaking at the seams: packed terminal; border control queues; queues for baggage reclaim due to staffing; aircraft delayed due to baggage belt issues; parking cars on taxiways; parking aircraft in cul-de-sacs; night noise quota points at or over the summer limit and a car queue from Express Drop Off to the A38 during the working day from Thursday to Monday inclusive. It’s still staffed by great people, is a good regional airport and some of the problems listed above have been solved by dint of hard work, but surely major route expansion as wished for here has to wait for the infrastructure to catch up.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The airport is creaking at the seams: packed terminal; border control queues; queues for baggage reclaim due to staffing; aircraft delayed due to baggage belt issues; parking cars on taxiways; parking aircraft in cul-de-sacs; night noise quota points at or over the summer limit and a car queue from Express Drop Off to the A38 during the working day from Thursday to Monday inclusive. It’s still staffed by great people, is a good regional airport and some of the problems listed above have been solved by dint of hard work, but surely major route expansion as wished for here has to wait for the infrastructure to catch up.
It's not so much a case of wishing for route expansion, although that's always welcome, but how the airport will reach its own projected annual passenger figures of 10 million in 2021 and over 12 million by 2025. It seems it will be achieved through existing carriers in the main, something the airport has been saying for a while, and questions have been raised here as to how desirable that is in terms of relying so heavily on one carrier.

In #239 in this thread I explored the pros and cons of the heavy reliance on easyJet. I'm currently looking back though past stats which show the airport has been growing its passenger numbers at a disproportionate rate to the increase in atms, through larger aircraft and higher load factors.

With more 320s replacing 319s and possibly at least one 321 next summer, easyJet has been providing additional seats with a relatively minimal increase in movements. That will probably continue to be part of the way forward for passenger growth.

I posted a trip report at the weekend elsewhere in Forums4Airports describing my recent Ryanair flights BRS-DUB-BRS, and I mentioned that the experience was basically a good one at BRS despite the high number of passengers at the airport at the time, which is a testimony to the hard work of the staff.

My alter ego also made the point you mentioned when I recently posted to a major aviation website message board that the airport does need some time for the facilities to catch up with the ever increasing passenger numbers.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I've been looking at where more passengers might be sourced and I find that Bristol is the seventh busiest route (2017 figures - both domestic and international routes) at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast Int airports.

The BRS route at Edinburgh handled 394,000 passengers in 2017, the highest non-London route in the UK: BFS was the next busiest UK non-London route with 285,000 and then BHX with 255,000.

The BRS route at Glasgow handled 297,000 passengers in 2017, the highest non-London route in the UK: BFS was the next busiest UK non-London route with 282,000 and then BHX with 227,000.

The BRS route at Belfast Int handled 262,000 passengers in 2017, but there were other UK non-London routes that were busier: LPL was the busiest non-London route with 491,000 and then EDI with 285,000 and MAN with 266,000.

EDI and GLA are often sold out from/to BRS - sometimes all the sectors in a single day - so there might be scope there for increased frequencies, always accepting that it doesn't impact negatively on the overall yield. That might be the reason why easyJet hasn't increased the likes of Paris Cdg and Rome FCO despite extremely high load factors month in and month out.

It's difficult to envisage too many unserved routes - there are undoubtedy still a number of apparent realistic ones in the short-haul market though. For example, some months ago anno aero featured Bristol-Zurich as their unserved route of the week with a very high number of potential traveller searches. Increased frequencies on existing routes might be the way forward though as much as new routes if BRS is to reach its projected 10 mppa by 2021.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Guernsey

A few years ago Blue Islands applied for a route licence for GCI-BRS to operate in competition with Aurigny. The Guernsey regulators were not keen (Aurigny is wholly owned by the States of Guernsey) and eventually Blue Islands withdrew the application.

As of yesterday Guernsey has become 'Open Skies' so there seems no impediment to Blue Islands beginning such a route if they are so minded. Things might have moved on though, not least Blue Islands' association with Flybe.
 

Jerry

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44810051
According to the BBC - QR received GBP1m to market Wales as a tourist destination !

No wonder BRS lost out, would it be legal for BRS to make such a payment as
a private company? even if it had the available funds!
Yes because it's for marketing. The Welsh government are paying Qatar to market Wales as a destination for tourism and business around there route network. If the UK government wants to i'm sure it could do the same to market the South West or the Birmingham Metro mayor to market the Midlands the same with Manchester version.
 

TheLocalYokel

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44810051
According to the BBC - QR received GBP1m to market Wales as a tourist destination !

No wonder BRS lost out, would it be legal for BRS to make such a payment as
a private company? even if it had the available funds!
There are no EU rules limiting aid or subsidies provided by airports in the private sector in the way that EU rules cover state aid to airports in the public sector. However, a private sector company isn't going to throw out silly money because it has its profit and loss accounts to consider.

The Welsh Government and not its wholly-owned airport company was the provider of the cash to Qatar (the airport company might have provided incentives as well but if so or what they were will remain commercially confidential) so a parallel for BRS would be the local authorities getting together and and stumping up the cash. That's a non-starter because they would have neither the money to do it nor probably the desire as a Qatar route would almost certainly not bring in a return to the West Country's economy to justify such an outlay.

BRS itself would be unlikely to push out the boat to land Qatar for the sake of the West Country economy because, unlike the Welsh Government that views its airport as a driver of the country's economy as well as a state-owned asset, BRS's primary raison d'etre is to do the best for its shareholders. A daily Qatar route would probably bring in less footfall and therefore less ancillary revenue (retail, car parking etc) than two or three additional daily easyJet or Ryanair flights, ergo it would be likely to add less to the profit column on the balance sheet. If BRS had to pay a considerable sum to land Qatar that would skew the equation even more.

I think it's simplistic to regard the Welsh Government's deal with Qatar as the sole reason for the airline using CWL.

The obvious reasons for the EU state aid rules are to prevent states from disproportionately benefiting from their advantageous position. One test is whether a prudent private sector company would have acted broadly in the same way in a given circumstance. With the money provided directly to Qatar for marketing, the Welsh Government's state-owned airport company is bypassed. Nevetheless, the Welsh Government would still have to be careful that their contribution was not considered excessive and likely to be regarded as illegal state aid. Only the EC and if necessary the European Court of Justice could decide what was and what was not illegal state aid.

In the CWL Qatar thread we've been discussing £13 million provided by the Welsh Government to its airport company as a loan on commercial terms in 2015 for route development over the following three years from that time. The BBC had received a leaked letter saying that £12 million would go to Flybe for marketing support on its CWL routes. The loan was never challenged as illegal state aid because it was apparently regarded as not excessive and was capable of repayment by the airport company during the loan period.
 

TheLocalYokel

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