Price study highlights Bristol as UK’s most expensive airport to reach

Bristol is the most expensive airport in Britain to reach by public transport or taxi per mile, costing an average of £2.01 per mile of travel, whilst Birmingham is the cheapest airport to get to at £1.01 per mile on average, according to a detailed new price study.

The comprehensive analysis on the top ten airports in the UK incorporated figures on travel by bus, coach, train, tube, taxi and Uber prices, where available. Analysts took an average cost per mile for all possible methods of public transport and taxis to and from the nearest major city centre for each airport.

Researchers at found that on average, journeys to and from Bristol airport are almost twice as expensive per mile than those to and from Birmingham. With Bristol airport having no train station, passengers are restricted to travel by bus or taxi, unless they travel by car. The airport is a relatively short distance from the city centre (7.8 miles) but has the most expensive cost per mile for taxis of all the major UK airports at £2.82, which is £22 for the complete fare.

Bristol airport also has the most expensive cost for Uber taxis at £2.31 per mile, an £18 total fare to the city centre. It also has the most expensive per mile bus journey cost in the study at £0.90 per mile, or £7 for the total bus fare to and from Bristol city centre.

In contrast, passengers using Birmingham enjoy the cheapest train journeys to and from the airport to the city centre at £0.32 per mile, which is £3 for the total fare, and the cheapest bus journeys at £0.31 per mile, £2.90 total cost.

Londoners, who often face high prices in the capital including travel costs, have the choice of several airports and do have reasonably priced options for getting to and from certain airports. However, each of the four major London airports is a considerable distance from the centre of the city.

Stansted is the second cheapest airport to reach in the UK, with the cheapest cost per mile taxi cost in the study at £1.88 and the cheapest cost per mile coach journey at £0.25 a mile. However, the Heathrow Express is the most expensive train journey to an airport in the UK at £1.47 per mile.

Newcastle is the closest airport to its local city centre (6.6 miles) and passengers using the North East hub benefit from the cheapest overall city centre to airport journey cost of £2.35 on the bus (£0.36 per mile of travel).

The ten busiest airports in the UK – Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stanstead, Luton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol and Newcastle – were all included in the study.

Heathrow remains the UK’s biggest airport by far in terms of annual passenger numbers with more than 73 million passengers traveling through the airport each year. Gatwick (38 million), Manchester (22 million), Stansted (20 million) and Luton (10 million) complete the top five. Gatwick reports that 53% of its passengers use public transport to get to the airport, and more than 50% of those going to Stansted also use public transport.

UK Country Manager from Shane Forster commented: “More than 240 million passengers use the UK’s airports each year and that figure is predicted to rise to 270 million by 2020, and a massive 470 million by 2050. Getting those people to and from their respective airport of choice is big business and it seems to be something of a lottery in terms of what customers pay for travel as they begin or return from their journeys.”

“Our advice to those booking flights is always to calculate the overall cost of your journey, including getting to and from the airport.”

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Per mile costs of getting to and from the UK’s ten major airports from major local city centre:

Airport Distance to city centre in miles Average cost per mile of travel to city centre
Bristol 7.8 £2.01
Edinburgh 9.3 £1.63
Gatwick 28 £1.38
Heathrow 15 £1.32
Glasgow 9 £1.30
Newcastle 6.6 £1.29
London Luton 33.8 £1.24
Manchester 8.8 £1.23
Stansted 32 £1.12
Birmingham 9.3 £1.01