Bristol airport has submitted a planning application for permission to increase capacity to 12 million passengers by the mid 2020s.

The airport is expected to pass the nine million annual passengers milestone next year, but capacity is currently limited to ten million.

It has submitted plans to North Somerset Council including the enlargement of the terminal building, and an extended forecourt canopy improving the approach to the building.

There would also be a new on-site multi-storey car park, a new loop road layout to improve traffic flow, and airside infrastructure improvements including a new taxiway link.

Local highway improvements have also been proposed to ensure additional passengers journeys can be accommodated, focusing on the A38 junctions with West lane and Downside Road.

Bristol airport stressed that the overall annual cap on night flights would not be increased under the plans, but added that it is seeking to remove seasonal restrictions on how the quota must be distributed between summer and winter.

The airport said that the proposals “represent the first practical step towards an exciting vision to develop the region’s international gateway to serve up to 20 million passengers a year by the mid-2040s”.

Commenting on the news, Dave Lees, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said:

“Following consultation with the local community, airline customers, passengers and other stakeholders, these plans set out sustainable development to meet demand for air travel to and from the South West and South Wales over the next decade. They will help deliver more routes, destinations and jobs.

“These plans are a practical step to ensuring we continue to connect our region to the world, providing a gateway for business, investment and tourists. At the same time, we have sought to minimise and mitigate any impacts on the local community and environment, building on our track record of investment in surface access improvements.”

Bristol airport opened in 1957, and is currently the ninth busiest airport in the UK and fifth busiest outside London.