Passenger numbers at Bristol Airport have topped three quarters of a million during a single calendar month for the first time, with a total of 768,587 passing through the terminal in August – up six per cent over the previous year.

Growth is the result of the enhanced flight and holiday programmes on offer this summer from the ‘big two’ tour operators – Thomas Cook and TUI Group (which operates the Thomson and First Choice brands) – as well as a raft of new services from scheduled airlines and increased load factors across all sectors (meaning flights are operating with more passengers on board).

Thomson Airways added a third aircraft to its Bristol-based fleet in May, opening up new destinations including Dubrovnik, Pula and Santorini, while Thomas Cook operates two Airbus A321s to a total of 20 destinations from the Airport. New easyJet flights to Bilbao, Isle of Man, Porto, Gibraltar, Lanzarote, Catania and Zante all commenced earlier this year. Wizz Air also entered the South West market for the first time in June, launching twice weekly flights to Katowice in Poland.

Inbound traffic also received a boost with the high-profile opening of Banksy’s Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare. This was expected to attract visitors on scheduled services from across the UK and Europe, as well as private charter flights from further afield.

An enlarged departure lounge opened in July to help meet this growing demand, and work is already underway on a second major extension to the terminal building which will deliver significant improvements to the security search and arrivals areas next year.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive at Bristol Airport, said: “The growing number of passengers choosing Bristol Airport demonstrates the strong demand for air travel to and from the South West and Wales and underlines why we continue to invest in enhancing facilities for passengers. By combining a comprehensive route network with a friendly and efficient airport experience we want to be the number one choice when customers in our region are making their travel plans.”

Prospects remain strong for the rest of the year, with a range of new scheduled routes commencing in the coming months. Wizz Air launches a new service to Kosice in Slovakia in October, and easyJet flights to Vienna and Basle begin in November. The Rugby World Cup in September and October is expected to provide a further boost to inbound passenger numbers this autumn.