Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has announced a new service linking Bristol with Stockholm next summer.Flights will operate twice a week (on Monday and Friday) from 30 June to 15 August 2014, using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The schedule has been designed with long weekend leisure breaks in mind, and is expected to prove equally popular with UK and Swedish travellers alike.
Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities. With its 750 year history and rich cultural life, it offers a wide selection of world-class museums and attractions, many of which can be explored on foot. With no direct flight from the South West of the UK for the last five years, the Swedish capital will be a new city break option for many travellers in the region.
The route’s strong inbound potential has also been recognised by local and national tourist boards, with VisitEngland, Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus supporting Bristol Airport and SAS in promoting the new service. It is estimated that it could generate over £1 million for the local visitor economy.
James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, said: “This route not only gives Swedish visitors a great link to Bristol, it also provides convenient access to Bath, the Cotswolds and the rest of South West England. This fits with our focus on promoting regional airports as gateways to great English attractions outside London.”
Philippa Sutton, PR Manager at Visit Sweden, says: “We are delighted SAS is launching a new route between Bristol and Stockholm. 2013 was a fantastic year for Stockholm with the opening of the Abba Museum in May, and the re-opening of the Vasa Museum in April, and we are expecting even more interest in the Swedish capital in 2014. Stockholm has a huge amount to offer tourists, whether you want to go shopping for cool Scandinavian design and fashion, take a boat out onto the beautiful archipelago of islands or get a taste of the Swedish food scene.”
Hans Dyhrfort, SAS’s regional general manager Western Europe, commented: “We are delighted to be launching a new summer route from Bristol to Stockholm. The Swedish capital is an amazing summer destination and is perfect both for a short city break or a longer stay. This new route also opens the whole of Scandinavia to travellers from the South West who can now fly directly to Stockholm from their doorstep.”
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: “This is a great example of a direct service which not only improves connectivity for the South West, but brings valuable visitor spend to the tourism sector in this region as well. Today’s announcement by SAS also marks the return of this famous airline brand to the South West market after a five year absence.”
Bristol Airport is the UK’s fifth largest airport outside London and the ninth largest in the UK, handling 5.9 million passengers in 2012. It is the only airport in the UK’s top ten to see growth each year since the end of 2009. In August 2013, the Airport recorded the busiest month in its history, handling over 700,000 passengers.
Planning permission is in place to develop and enhance facilities to handle 10 million passengers per annum and development commenced on the first of more than 30 separate component projects – the construction of three new aircraft stands - in November 2011. A £6.5 million central walkway structure is currently under construction and, when completed in summer 2014, will ease departure lounge congestion and significantly enhance the passenger experience.
The number of foreign residents using Bristol Airport has almost trebled in the last decade, with over a million journeys made by overseas visitors in 2012. Analysis of data from the Civil Aviation Authority Passenger Survey showed that an estimated 18 per cent of the Airport’s 5.9 million passengers last year were resident outside the UK, indicating an upsurge in visits to the South West and South Wales.