Member News & Events

New Operations Director for Bournemouth Airport

Bournemouth Airport owner Regional & City Airports (RCA) has made a strategic appointment to strengthen investment and growth plans at the fast-expanding south coast regional base.

Aviation and logistics professional Tim Etches is the airport’s new Operations Director, responsible for directing all aspects of safety, security, infrastructure, service capability and regulatory compliance. 

His appointment is designed to strengthen RCA’s growth strategy for Bournemouth which includes a 20% rise in passenger numbers this year and an overall doubling of passengers within five years.

As well as announcing new routes from airlines and holiday companies such as Ryanair and TUI, there are plans for an airport business park creating up to 1,900 jobs and dedicated investment in cargo services and facilities for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). A new executive lounge is also scheduled to open in 2020. 

Bournemouth Airport Managing Director Stephen Gill said: “We very much welcome Tim to the team at this exciting time. 

“His arrival strengthens our knowledge and leadership as we move forward with our growth strategy, route development and services for carriers, tour operators, passengers and other customers. 

“This is all about stimulating and delivering continued growth in general and business aviation.”

RCA, the airport management division of Rigby Group plc, is the UK’s leading regional airport operator by scale and operations. It acquired Bournemouth Airport in December 2017 and also owns and operates Coventry Airport, Exeter Airport and Norwich Airport. 

Tim, a former Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force, said:“I am thrilled to be on board to help RCA build on Bournemouth’s success as a vital and expanding regional hub for the south of England. I’m highly impressed with the investment that RCA is making in its people, services and infrastructure and I’m keen to play my part in its growth plans.” 

Born and brought up in Throop village, just a few miles from the airport, Tim lives with his wife Helen near Christchurch.

During his RAF career, Tim became a Logistics Operations Director, providing worldwide operational support for all three armed services.

Afterwards, Tim joined Heathrow Airport as Head of Winter Resilience, devising and delivering a £32 million airport snow plan. 

He has also worked at senior levels in the education IT sector and with aviation and defence engineering companies.

Tim was most recently a programme leader at Poole-based defence systems manufacturer Aish Technologies. 

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Fly Bournemouth

Stephen Gill, Managing Director, Bournemouth Airport. The airport has published its Fly Bournemouth 2020 preview, detailing flights for 2020.

Holidaymakers looking to fly from Bournemouth Airport for travel convenience have two new sunshine destinations for Summer 2020.

The stunning Greek islands of Skiathos, in the Aegean Sea, and Zante, in the Ionian Sea, are now among 30-plus international routes available from the airport.

Skiathos, a filming location for the hit Abba-themed movie Mamma Mia!, and Zante, home to turtle nesting beaches, are run by TUI from May to October and May to September respectively.

TUI is also introducing new 10 and 11 night holidays to mid-haul hotspot Antalya,  on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, and providing more duration options for customers.

Details of flights from Bournemouth Airport, which saw 708,869 passengers go through the terminal over 12 months to March 31, are now available in the Fly Bournemouth 2020 preview.

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Air services to Jersey take to the skies

Air services to Jersey take to the skies

A new airlink between Bournemouth and Jersey celebrated its in inaugural flight today, part of Loganair’s summer 2019 schedule from the airport.

For the Scottish regional airline’s first ever operations from the South Coast airport, passengers travelled aboard a tartan branded 37-seat Embraer 135 Jet, arriving in Jersey only 45 minutes later.

Passengers departing from Bournemouth were treated to Jersey ice cream courtesy of the airline, served from a specially branded Loganair ice-cream truck, and the aircraft was met with a water-cannon salute by the aircraft’s fire brigade as it touched down.

Loganair is providing three services per week between southern England and the Channel Island – on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays until October 4 – enabling holidaymakers to tailor breaks around a five-day, full week or long weekend trips.

The airline is also commencing weekly Saturday flights to Guernsey on May 13 – the sunniest place in the British Isles. Popular with the leisure market, the once a week schedule is designed for seven-day breaks.

All of Loganair’s fares include 20kg of complimentary luggage allowance, as well as onboard refreshments and a 33 per cent discount for children up to the age of 11 years old.

Stephen Gill, Managing Director, Bournemouth Airport, said: “Loganair’s flights to the Channel Islands are excellent news for holidaymakers and businesses requiring the convenience of a customer-focused regional airport, saving them time and cost in travelling to alternative airports.
“Passengers and Loganair flight crews can look forward to a warm South Coast welcome here at Bournemouth Airport.”

Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Managing Director, said: “It’s a privilege to officially start operations from Bournemouth Airport for the first time, connecting England’s South Coast region with the wonderful island of Jersey.

“Jersey is a perfect holiday destination and with the summer almost upon us, our schedule enables flexible breaks of different durations. It’s also great to see Captain Davies, a home-grown pilot, flying once again from Bournemouth Airport.”

Paul Holley, Group Commercial Manager for Ports of Jersey said: “As one of our existing airline partners Loganair continues to invest in Jersey, and this summer we are pleased to welcome the Bournemouth route to the expanding Loganair network at Jersey Airport.

“With a tiered choice of airfares and up to three flights a week, we anticipate a good response from both leisure and business passengers when making travel plans.”

Spanning nine miles long by five miles wide, Jersey is an extremely popular holiday destination dotted with idyllic beaches, museums, military history and excellent food. It’s close proximity to France gifts the island a sunny microclimate which only increases its allure.

Tickets for the route are currently on sale and can be purchased online at or by calling 0344 800 2855.

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Ryanair launches new Bournemouth route to Dublin

Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, has announced a new route from Bournemouth to Dublin, with a four weekly service commencing in April 2019, which will be a part of Ryanair’s Summer 2019 schedule.

British consumers and visitors can now enjoy even lower fares and the latest Always Getting Better improvements including:

  • Reduced checked-in bag fees – lower €25 x 20kg check bag, lower €8 x 10kg check bag
  • Ryanair Rooms with 10% off Travel Credit
  • ‘Try Somewhere New’ – travel content platform on

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “Ryanair is pleased to announce a new Bournemouth route to Dublin commencing in April, which will operate four times weekly as part of our Summer 2019 schedule.”

Andrew Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Regional & City Airports (RCA), which is the owner and operator of Bournemouth Airport, said: “Ryanair’s Dublin route announcement is exciting news for local passengers – Dublin is up there with Amsterdam and Paris for city weekend breaks – and there is all of the convenience involved in flying from an airport on their doorstep.

“We anticipate an extra 70,000 passengers a year with the Dublin route, which is part of Bournemouth Airport’s growth strategy, including the ambition to double passenger numbers to 1.5 million over the next five years.

“Ryanair is drawn to the connectivity Bournemouth Airport can offer, including an international length runway and superb landside and airside facilities. This is about giving passengers a wide range of destinations to choose from.

“Within 10 months of acquiring Bournemouth Airport, RCA is on the flight path to delivering improved services as well as dovetailing with the needs of local business and creating fresh opportunities for the regional economy.”

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Lift-off for Bournemouth Airport with new Managing Director 

Bournemouth Airport, owned and operated by Regional & City Airports (RCA), has appointed Stephen Gill as new Managing Director.

Previously Peel Airport’s Chief Executive Officer for Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Durham Tees Valley Airport, he was appointed following a rigorous selection process.

Mr Gill, who commenced his role on Thursday, 11th October, is responsible for the general management and strategic development of Bournemouth Airport.

The appointment comes just 10 months after the airports management division of Rigby Group plc acquired Bournemouth Airport, with ambitions to drive growth across its operations, including doubling passenger numbers to 1.5 million over the next five years.

RCA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bell said: “Stephen Gill’s credentials shone through in a rigorous selection process – he is an accomplished businessman with exemplary skills in strategic management and leadership.

“Stephen has the experience, drive and know-how to deliver our strategic growth plans as we look to double passenger numbers to 1.5 million at Bournemouth Airport over the next five years.

“RCA is very encouraged by the support received from both the public and business community during the first 10 months of our ownership.

“With Stephen in the pilot seat, the airport focus will continue to be the delivery of the connectivity the region needs today, using existing airport infrastructure.”

Steve Rigby, Chief Operating Officer, Rigby Group plc, said: “Stephen has the track record and vision to grow commercial and passenger activity, leveraging the group’s scale, contacts and expertise in regional aviation to deliver continued progression.

“Key is to make use of existing capacity to satisfy the market – Bournemouth Airport is best placed to meet the demands of the wider region.”

Stephen Gill, Managing Director, Bournemouth Airport, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time to be joining Bournemouth Airport, which is well supported by local passengers and the business community, bringing clear economic benefits to the region.

“The main objective will be to grow commercial and passenger activity at Bournemouth Airport, building on the substantial progress made since the RCA acquisition in December 2017.

“It has the runway length, terminal and passenger facilities to satisfy regional demand and is already home to very successful operations with Ryanair, TUI and other European and transatlantic operators.

“One of my responsibilities will be to support close working relationships with the business community and regional stakeholders, to deliver inward investment, enhanced connectivity and job creation.”

Jim Stewart, Chair of Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We’ve always had a good working relationship with Bournemouth Airport and the adjacent Aviation Business Park. We warmly welcome Stephen Gill to one of Dorset’s key employment sites and economic assets.”

A number of exciting developments have taken place since new ownership of Bournemouth Airport, which currently serves more than 25 destinations.

They include the arrival of London Stock Exchange-listed Gama Aviation, a global business aviation services company.

Gama Aviation’s new maintenance, repair and overhaul operations at a 135,000 sq ft secure facility bring 150 new skilled positions, taking the aviation hub’s total employment figure to more than 2,000.

Separately, Ryanair announced a new route from Bournemouth to Prague, with a twice-weekly service commencing in April 2019, and Super Break introduced a range of new destinations.

Rigby Real Estate, Rigby Group’s Commercial Real Estate division, took over the running of Bournemouth Aviation Business Park, which is home to more than 200 businesses on a 80-hectare site adjacent to Bournemouth Airport, as part of RCA’s acquisition in December 2017.

Aviation Business Park is benefitting from the Bournemouth International Growth Programme’s £45.2 million infrastructure investment.

Funding was secured by Dorset LEP and is being used to boost employment and development around Bournemouth Airport and Wessex Fields.

Handling 2.3 million passengers with 215,000 flight movements and connecting directly to over 60 destinations across its operations, RCA has built a reputation as an efficient, safe and commercially-astute airport operator, driving improvements to route development, commercial revenues, operating costs and capital investment in order to deliver a consistently sound commercial return, leveraging significant buying power and shared expertise to deliver tangible benefits to airports across the UK.

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Bournemouth Airport Independent Consultative Committee March 2017 Update

The Airport is on the up once again with passenger numbers rising and costs tightly controlled; this year they may break even or make a very small profit!

Passenger numbers from April to Jan 31st are up 13.2%, Actual numbers were 606,000 against a budget of 535,000 with the year out turn predicted to be 670,000 up 11.2% on last year. Load factors are really high with the additional route to Krakow being very successful. Ryanair run at 90% with 415,765 passengers and Thompson 93% with 164,000 people being carried.

Ryanair will repeat their Summer 2016 schedule offering 35 flights a week and will fly to Krakow all year round. Thompson have 15 flights outbound every week.

The airport is looking to attract additional routes but this takes time to orchestrate probably as much as 18 months.

The new school, Parkfield, opens after Easter and considerable concern was expressed in relation to the inevitable congestion around the junction to the school and airport at the start and end of day. The new proposals were discussed in relation to the road improvements that have received funding from the LEP. The B3073, the Parley corridor, is going to have work at both ends, Blackwater and Parley together with relocating the Hurn Roundabout and sorting the Chapel Gate entry exit route. 4,000 people work on the Aviation parks.

There are several public meetings arranged to show the Council’s proposals, the first being at the Littledown Centre 7/8 March.

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A new contract to run buses to and from Bournemouth Airport is taking off at the end of October.


Yellow Buses’ new-look service will pick up passengers from the airport’s arrivals terminal as well as the ever-growing Aviation Business Park.

The new service has been designed to bring direct connections to many more people; it continues to serve Bournemouth Square and the railway station, but will now be serving Winton, Moordown, Northbourne and Parley Cross.

It will run from 6am through to 7pm every day of week, including weekends and bank holidays.  The deal between Bournemouth’s brightest bus company and Bournemouth Airport will see the service change from the A1 to the 14, bringing the service into Yellow Buses’ wider network.  This means that passengers will benefit from cheaper prices, with a single ticket to the airport from anywhere on the route costing no more than £2.40, and a day return ticket costing no more than £3.70.

Regular users wanting to access the growing job market at the Aviation Business Park will benefit from Yellow Buses’ Glo cards, making the daily commute more affordable.

Andrew Smith, Managing Director of Yellow Buses, said: “This is a renewed contract but we’ve widened out the service.  It will go to the airport passenger terminal and around the business park, as well as providing passengers from the Winton and Moordown area with a direct bus to and from the airport.  We are opening up the service to meet the wider market and another benefit is that the service will be run on our own fare structure meaning it will be even better value for money.  We’re particularly excited about our new-look app, which not only helps passengers plan their journey with real time departure information at their fingertips, but also allows them to buy their bus tickets.”

Paul Knight, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: “Ryanair has doubled the size of their winter programme this year, so we will be seeing even more passengers using the airport – many of whom will benefit from this improved service.  The new route will also be a huge boost for those working on the Aviation Business Park which currently supports over 200 businesses, employing 3000 people.”

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