Bristol’s congestion charge could be bad for Bristol Airport

A TUI 757 gets airborne from Bristol Airport (Image: UK Aviation Media)
A TUI 757 gets airborne from Bristol Airport (Image: UK Aviation Media)

but great for Cardiff Airport!

When it comes to Bristol’s congestion, which comes into force later this year, it really is a tale of two airports as the boundaries mean it will be bad news for Bristol Airport, but potentially great news for Cardiff Airport across the river.

Bristol Airport (BRS/EGGD) lies outside of the “Clean Air Zone” being introduced by Labour Mayor Marvin Rees but the problem comes when you look at who uses Bristol Airport.

Whilst the figures aren’t exact it is believed that as much as 30% of the passengers using the airport come from South Wales and the route that they use to get there is the problem.

The most common route from the M4 to Bristol Airport is along the M49 to join the Portway into Bristol, then along the A370 to join up with the newly developed South Bristol Link Road up to the A38 and onto the Airport.

The problem? The Bristol end of the Portway and Cumberland Basin is inside the charging zone meaning that anyone travelling to Bristol Airport will have to pay at least £18 on a return trip unless they have the very latest euro 6 diesel or low-emission petrol cars.

People travelling from South Wales used to have to pay a toll to cross the Severn bridge but this was only one way and was less than a fiver for the last couple of years but Bristol Airport did see an increase in Welsh passengers after they were abolished in 2018.

The threat now comes with Welsh passengers being faced with almost three times the old toll fee to use the airport and that combined with a new low-cost base from Wizz Air and no charges to get to the airport draw some of them back across the bridge?

Cardiff Airport does suffer from a lack of destinations compared to Bristol but if the tide does turn then we already know Wizz Air will aggressively expand and who else uses Cardiff Airport? Bristol’s favourite airline, Ryanair!

Obviously, it remains to be seen what happens when the charges are introduced, in fact, many in South Wales probably don’t even know they will be affected yet, but Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees may have just become Cardiff Airports’ biggest friend!


  1. You are assuming that not many people from Wales, who can afford to fly, have euro 6 diesel cars

    • No one is assuming anything. But economics would suggest that was the case.

  2. This isn’t just an issue for Welsh drivers, it is an issue for anyone going to the airport from the north via the M5 or East via the M4. It will simply mean anyone from Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bath, Swindon, Newport, not to mention Bristol itself, will have to pay £18 per trip.

  3. We already pay road tax, now we are expected to pay £18 plus a drop off and pick up charge plus diesel or petrol tax charges. Who would ever vote for Labour. Air port and city doomed to economic suicide.

  4. Not realising there was a charge,], I have recieved 3 notices: two of which arrived too late for me to pay the minimum charge of £9 and have cost me £250. Being on a basic government pension leaves me nothing on which to feed myself.
    Shame on Bristol!

  5. Its a Con to raise money from airport travellers, for the money grabbing council . the small section of the A369 at Bower Ashton is in the congestion charging zone. this is unnecessary look at the map. Most drivers will come off the M5 at Gordano services and get caught on the 100 yards or so heading towards the A38. Drivers will now start using Bower Ashton to by pass the congestion zone, causing local traffic jams and a nuisence for residents. Bristol needs to stop these councils making such decsions without listening to the voice of the people. VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE Bristolians at the next local ellections. AS stated in other comments Cardiff may well pick up more customers, Bristol airport could become unviable and all those lucrative jobs would disappear. more lost jobs due to Stupid decisions. Next Bristol you will b e divided into 6 zones and not allowed to travel between them more than 20 timnes a year see the plans for OXFORD !!!!!

  6. You are alienating Bristol Airport. Not only is it an extra charge, which hits the easy car driver target, but the Airport does not inform you that from particular areas you will enter the congestion charge area. This sucks and will cause passengers to think about other airports.
    Bristol council panel don’t loose the plot.

  7. First and last time that I will travel from Bristol Airport as I have just had to pay a £138 ULEZ charge. No clear signage notifying you that you are entering a ULEZ zone until you enter the city by which time it’s too late to avoid the zone. Shame on Bristol Airport, The City Council & Government for this highway robbery all parties could work together to provide clear signage notifying drivers of the ULEZ zone & penalty charge before entering the city.. Lets hope the Airport goes the way of the Dodo.. Both penalty notices arrived too late to pay the daily £9.00 charge.. I feel like I have just been mugged..

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