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Filton To Close.

Old 15th Apr 2011, 10:51
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GQ2
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Thumbs down Filton To Close.

Filton Airport to close

Very very sad to see this. It's always sad to see any airfield close, but we've seen so many of the airfields attached to famous British manufacturers names bulldozed. Hatfield et al. What's the betting it'll be another housing estate. What of the Concorde there too.....?
Bristols were there right at the beginning, and had such a wide involvement, it's particularly sad and poignant to hear this news. When one reflects upon the past record of Bristols and the sheers commercial dynamism of such firms, it makes the actions of their successors seem all the more flaccid. 'On the shoulders of giants' comes to mind.
One can hear the money-grubbers hands rubbing together already.

GQ2.
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Old 15th Apr 2011, 16:36
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From Wikipedia,

On 14 April 2011, BAE Systems announced that the airfield is to close at the end of 2012, and that all users and employees have been notified.

Ciarain.
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Old 15th Apr 2011, 17:37
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Filton closing -what does it mean ?

I'm a little confused by what this really means.

Does this mean that BAE will no longer manage the airport and someone else can/will come in and perform that function ?

Or does BAE actually own the runway in addition to some of the land around the airport and also is the operator of the airport so when they say close, they mean it will really be shut down and the runway made inactive, plowed under and houses erected on top of it ?

I'm from the US so am not familiar with how airports and airport ownership in the UK differs, as far as I am aware of, most airports that have instrument landing equipment and large long runways are owned by a government entity be it city or state and the FAA maintains the instrument approach equipment.

If the airport really does close how will Airbus move parts that they now transport via the Belugas ?
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Old 15th Apr 2011, 19:00
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Yes, very sad news, another great part of our aviation heritage to go, along with Woodford, Hatfield etc.

Don't know tho that Bristol showed all that much "commercial dyamism" in the 1950s tho-eg the Britannia, which was so chronically delayed that it missed the market almost completely, tho BOAC, I think (I wasn't around then) played a major part too, in the Brit's failure.

I would think the Concorde at Filton is in no danger: it will either stay there, as the centrepiece of a new housing estate (groan), or be moved elsewhere. No-one would dare to suggest scrapping a Concorde, in my view, in the UK at least.
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Old 1st May 2012, 22:12
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Filton still has its uses!


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Old 2nd May 2012, 09:33
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Maybe they will rebuild the village that was demolished for the Brabazon runway extension.
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Old 2nd May 2012, 10:30
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I think that might well figure in the housing development, at least in terms of resurrecting some of the names.

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Old 23rd Dec 2012, 10:54
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Q) EGTT/QFAAW/IV/NBO/A/000/999/5131N00235W005
B) FROM: 12/12/22 00:00C) TO: PERM
E) AD CLOSED, AIP PAGES AD 2-EGTG-1-1 TO AD 2-EGTG-8-8 REFER, REMOVE
ALL TEXT.
So that's that. I've seen many a closure over the years but this is the saddest.

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Old 25th Dec 2012, 12:36
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Angry Pathetic.

@SGC;- Yes, it truly is very sad. Long-term, with the airfield gone, getting serious manufacturing re-started will be stymied - permanently. Give it 5-10 years, and well see the remnants of RR & Airbus go too.

It's all short-termism. I fail to see why the airfield couldn't have just been mothballed if they were bothered about the costs. This was done with hundreds of a/d after the war. The Local Authorities would no doubt trumpet that they are 'providing jobs and housing', but they really just see Brownfield sites as soft-targets to build more rabbit-hutches to pay them rip-off taxes. We see this over and over again. However, airfields may be easy & profitable to close, but they cost zillions to build.

Filton not only has a great history, but it's been a great asset to Bristol since aviation began. Politicians have been instrumental in the destruction of the British aviation industry. This is just one more of their 'achievments'
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 17:57
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Filton should have been developed in order to replace Cardiff and Lulsgate.......an almost ideal transport interchange with road and rail connections adjacent?

Then that would require a co-ordinated transport policy.......last mentioned by Prescott in 1997; alas it never materialised and probably never will!
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 19:33
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Filton should have been developed in order to replace Cardiff and Lulsgate.......an almost ideal transport interchange with road and rail connections adjacent?

Then that would require a co-ordinated transport policy.......last mentioned by Prescott in 1997; alas it never materialised and probably never will!
Totally agree. Two motorways M4 and M5 the rail connections to Plymouth, Paddington, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow right on the doorstep.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 22:13
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Stop it, stop it. We'll have no out breaks of commonsense around here thank you kindly.

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Old 26th Dec 2012, 07:54
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Not wishing to stir with the proverbial spoon, but I bet EK/QR would be flying out of Filton now with its excellent road and rail transport. What international carrier would want to operate out a field with cows f*****g downwind!!

Yet again a fine example of bad politics and council management which have ruined Bristol's potential of business expansion.
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Old 27th Dec 2012, 11:06
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Where to begin..................
I'll start with the closure from a work perspective, it's been a pleasure working alongside the Filton guys during my time at Bristol and I agree with all here that the closure is a travesty.

I fail to see why the airfield couldn't have just been mothballed if they were bothered about the costs
'Mothballing' isn't cheap as the on site equipment costs money in upkeep regardless of whether it's being used or not. Anyhoo, if it was to re-open in say three years, would the spares be available for the radar, ILS, NDB etc and who would carry out maintainence meanwhile. Equipment can become obsolete in this game in not too short a timeframe. Where would the engineers come from, certainly not employed by Bae. What about the ATC staff? Yes, you'll always get guys at the very start or very end of their career to work for you (if the T&Cs are right) but that carries great cost in getting the unit up and running again. Where would the 'customers' come from? Couple of trainers from Oxford a day and a LARS contract? Give me strength!

Filton should have been developed in order to replace Cardiff and Lulsgate.......an almost ideal transport interchange with road and rail connections adjacent?
Then that would require a co-ordinated transport policy.......last mentioned by Prescott in 1997
And pigs might fly. While it's a nice sentiment, the owners of Bristol would have had to be convinced to scrap their plans (not really feasible given what they are managing to do with their current site) and the Welsh Assembly would have to be incapacitated long enough to steal away their new dream Welsh Government | Welsh Government to consider purchase of Cardiff Airport

Two motorways M4 and M5 the rail connections to Plymouth, Paddington, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow right on the doorstep.
Which could have been somewhat addressed if the rest of the transport infrastructure around the south side of Bristol had been dragged into the 20th century. BANES, BCC and the DfT have been slack in this regard, shame on them. These people think the road through Barrow Gurney is an acceptable route to Bristol Airport!

What international carrier would want to operate out a field with cows f*****g downwind!!
Not noticed the fornicating bovines from the office window myself, maybe I should pay more attention! On a serious note, have you asked any 'international carriers' if they give a flying f**k whether the fileds round the airport are full of livestock or not? I suspect they couldn't give a fiddlers as long as their pax want to fly there and the onward transport links are available. No doubt on-site facilities would be more of a factor too. Oh, and just one more thing on this point, why do the 'international carriers' not fly into Cardiff now, if it's got a long runway................or is it the 'cows f*****g' downwind again?

I agree that the airport isn't in the optimal postion (except for those of us who choose to live south of the Mendips), but other than that, it is absolutely fine. People who squawk about the wx need to look at the airlines and their reluctance to train crews and equip their aircraft to CATIII capability. Bad wx can happen anywhere, just ask the pax who were meant to spend Crimbo in Funchal but ended up at the Holiday Inn on the A38!

As I said at the beginning, it is a shame to see such an historic airfield and potentially fantastic international airport site close, but once the late 80s came along, it was never going to happen for a multitude of reasons. However, let's not have the passing of Filton become a reason just to bash Bristol again, it's getting tiresome guys.

Last edited by Standard Noise; 27th Dec 2012 at 11:10.
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Old 27th Dec 2012, 12:53
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Nice points raised Standard Noise but I was being flippant when I mentioned cows. The real pain in my view is still trying to negotiate the one way system leaving Bristol on the A38 for the airport. It's confusing and frustrating when you miss the turn because you're stuck in the wrong lane. None of it is even dual carriageway which makes it a really slow drive out there. There is no other means of getting there either.

Of course if you live the other side of the airport then driving there is not too bad. But now Plymouth has gone it only really leaves Exeter and Lulsgate to serve that part of England.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 21:37
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A link road is supposed to be built from Ashton to Bedminster Down which will remove the worst of the one-way tribulations on the southern edge of Bristol for those driving to BRS from the M5 at Avonmouth via the A4 (Portway), though in the best tradition of Bristol politics a debate continues as to whether it should go ahead despite funding being secured from central government.

When Bristol City Council, the owners of Whitchurch Airport (the primary land airport connection with neutral Europe in WW2), decided it was too small to develop they opted to purchase the former RAF Lulsgate Bottom site, by then home to a glider club, for their future airport (it opened in 1957). Lulsgate was then in Somerset; it's now in the unitary authority of North Somerset.

In so doing they were storing up the same problems for future generations that had led them to abandon Whitchurch. A persistent rumour has held sway for many years that the city council could have become the tenants of the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton for a peppercorn rent but elected for Lulsgate as they would own it and have greater control.

By the late 1970s the city council may have wished it had got into bed at Filton because Lulsgate had become a millstone around the necks of the city's rate payers and there were serious mentions of closure in the local press.

Trotting to the rescue came one Les Wilson, newly installed as MD, as charismatic a figure as ever graced Lulsgate or most other airports for that matter, who during the 1980s and 1990s gradually built the BRS base into a position where it was able to develop into the position it now enjoys behind only Manchester and Birmingham in the number of passengers it handles in the English regions. Tragically, Les was killed in a road accident in the mid 1990s.

Had the aldermen, burgesses and councillors of 1950s Bristol possessed sufficient prescience to recognise the way air travel, and motorways for that matter, were to develop in the ensuing decades they might well have thrown in their lot with the BAC at that time - assuming the invitation really had existed.

Of course, operating a growing airport as a tenant might not have been plain sailing and neither might have been acquiring the funding for the considerable infrastructure necessary. Almost certainly a sale into the private sector would have been required as it was to enable Lulsgate to acquire its present structures.

By the 1990s BAE thought that it might itself try to set up a city airport at Filton. A public enquiry led to the relevant government minister - Selwyn Gummer? - rejecting the application. Filton had become a close neighbour to a substantial urban population and environmentalism and nimbyism had become popular sports in the airport world, so the city airport outcome was perhaps unsurprising.

Bristol as an entity has another cross to bear when it comes to major changes in anything because, largely for petty, party political reasons, the city boundary has not changed since the early 1960s though the contiguous urban sprawl has moved further and further outwards from its original core.

The upshot is that various parts of the UK's largest conurbation west of London and south of Birmingham are run (if that's the right word because it's not done well) by four separate local authorities: and they rarely agree on anything.

If Bristol City Council had wanted to pursue Filton as the city's airport you can be sure the other local authorities would have moved heaven and earth to pursue the opposing view. Filton lies within the unitary authority of South Gloucestershire, though it's physically joined to municipal Bristol - you can't see the join, and that council has been no more enthusiastic about keeping Filton's runway open than Bristol City Council was to move there all those years ago.

It was reported within the past few days that BAE has sold much of the Filton site to a Capital Fund for 120 million for housing and commercial development. This would solve much of South Gloucestershire's government requirement for new housing in its area so perhaps it's not a surprise that its leaders were not falling over backwards to try to keep open the runway.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 15:00
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Standard Noise
it's been a pleasure working alongside the Filton guys during my time at Bristol
May I reciprocate on behalf of all the ATC staff at Filton - it was also frequently entertaining watching some of you doing the aerial knitting of our airways inbounds through yours before transferring!
Somewhat ironic that we were as busy as we ever had been during the last week of operation - on just one day, everything from a pair of paramotors to an A380 visiting, a Spitfire maiden flight, plus the usual company movements, instrument trainers and transitting comedians!
A good New Year to you all at EGGD - enjoy the LARS!

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Old 1st Jan 2013, 13:06
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The Company I worked for in the early 80s used Filton regularly for their BAC111 and HS125s.It was delightful and as stated close to major routes into London and the North.Our "Big Oggas" also found it useful for their convoys of Rolls's to find easily ,without getting lost in Undeground CarParks and having to hire a replacement Rolls for the Harrods Run!!!Customs clearance was the only problem,as sometimes we never knew how many pax were going to appear.This had to be prebooked,and eventually caused us to move to Lulsgate!I hadly ever managed to get in ,due Fog,and the journey of round and round and another roundabout by road was dreadful.How you can close a fabulous Airfied as Filton,and use Lulsgate is quite beyond me!!!I had flown in some Harvards from Koksyde for Ken Fxxxxxxy of Lulsgate Air Services back in the late 60s/early 70s,and the condition and services then were the same 10+years later.Then in the 90s I flew Race Horses in several times and once more it was terrible compared with Filton,which again was delightful and cooperative with the Handling required.I still have the Rolls Heritage Oak Leaf tie for having done so many Engine Courses there!!!Happy memories of Johnny Jones and Johnny Danes,not to mention Buster Paine,and the enormous inside of a Centaurus crankcase and crankshaft with its cannonball like ball balance.

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Old 17th Jan 2013, 20:59
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"They want to dump a parking lot on paradise" | Filton Voice

Here, airfield campaigner, local councillor and aerospace worker Dave Tiley reflects on what closure will mean for Filton and the wider area
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Old 19th Jan 2013, 05:32
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Sad to hear of this closing. As Director of Quality Control for Tradewinds Airline out of Greensboro, North Carolina, USA I spent several weeks in the late 90's at Filton inspecting the records, the aircraft and the workmanship of a group of A300 that were being converted to freighters. My company acquired the aircraft. The conversion to freighters was a very competent piece of work and we never had any serious difficulty with the aircraft and certainly none tied to the conversion work.

I was quite awed to work in the same hangars where the mighty Brabazon and the Britannias were built. I had worked on the Bristol Battleship as we called it back in New York. The Proteus was a bit prehistoric in its basic design and it is a shame the Orion engine didn't come along a lot earlier. All in all, I think a great asset is being let go. It is a real shame to lose a good facility
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