18 APRIL 2011
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Bristol’s Filton Airport, said to be pre-Second World War, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturing plant, is to close at the end of 2012 following a review by owner BAE Systems of its commercial and economic viability.
Opened in 1910 the airport gained a hard runway in 1941 which was later extended to 8000ft to accommodate the Bristol Brabazon, built at the airport. All the ten British Concordes were assembled in the three-bay Brabazon Hangar. Other famous Bristol built aircraft have included the Bristol Freighter, Britannia and Beaufighter.
In the 1990s Air Bristol attempted to launch scheduled services from the airport which has an ideal position near the M5/M4 junction, but were thwarted by the local council, then a part owner of Bristol Lulsgate airport. It even has a railway line.
The airport is used by BAE Systems for company flights and other executive operations. These will be moved to Lulsgate. The police helicopter operated on behalf of Avon and Somerset police and Gloucestershire Constabulary will have to find a new home. Airbus says it is fully committed to the Filton site which is a global centre of engineering and design excellence. www.bristolfilton.co.uk
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