The government is being urged not to overlook the role of regional airports following publication of the Airports Commission’s interim report.

The call comes from Bristol airport which believes there are options outside the London area to relieve capacity constraints.

Bristol airport has planning permission to develop facilities to serve 10 million passengers a year, an increase of 64%.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said:  “The commission has identified a shortage of runway capacity in the south-east and has short-listed options for further consideration.

“During what will clearly be a long and controversial process, it is important that government does not lose sight of the role airports outside London can play in meeting demand for air travel in the regions.”

The environmental effects of development of Bristol airport, which will be phased in line with passenger demand, have been fully evaluated and a range of controls and mitigation is in place to manage its impact, he added.

“More than six million passengers travelling to or from the south-west and Wales used an airport in the south-east last year,” said Sinclair.

“By reducing the reliance on the London airports for short-haul point to point travel, we can provide a more convenient alternative for many passengers and, at the same, time free up capacity during the decade or more it will take to deliver a new runway in the south-east.

“With the latest aircraft technology likely to increase the range of destinations available from Bristol, this claw-back will extend to long haul flights as well.”