Dundee Council, the Scottish Government and the Department for Transport are overseeing a two-month competitive tender process that closes on July 17th. It invites interested parties to make their case to replace the current twice daily London Stansted service.
With the V&A going from strength to strength, Dundee is fast becoming a destination for UK and international tourists. Alongside this are dynamic business centres spread across Tayside, Angus and North East Fife that are home to huge names in the Tech/Gaming industry, Life Sciences and Marine Energy sectors.
The missing part of the puzzle for the city and its communities is a fast, and frequent service to and from centre of London. At its peak, the London City service to Dundee welcomed over 50,000 passengers per year. However, since the service left the airport it has shrunk to barely 21,000 with most Dundonians electing to travel to Edinburgh instead.
The airport believes the time is right for an improved aviation connection to London, but one that promotes business and tourism opportunities at both ends of the route. This will be crucial to firstly restoring annual passenger numbers back to the levels being delivered when the route last operated to London City, and also to grow the market. The ongoing transformation of Dundee has sown the seeds to return the route to commercial viability, and bringing it back to its natural home in central London is key to delivering on that ambition.
London City Airport’s fast, frequent and cheap onward transport connections to key markets across London will be attractive to the Dundee business community, as well as friends and families planning weekends away. From this autumn, it could be possible to get from Canary Wharf to the V&A in as little as 2 hours 30 minutes.
The proposed triple daily service could also be operated by Loganair on a larger aircraft that accommodates 48 passengers.
If successful the route would commence in October, and would be promoted in Dundee and London to build awareness amongst business and leisure passengers.
Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, said:
“This is a highly exciting time for Dundee, with hundreds of millions of pounds in new investment and thousands of new visitors coming to our city. The link to London City Airport is the missing piece of the jigsaw, if selected by the tender panel, it will offer a faster and more direct route right to the heart of London. This would be great news not only for business and tourists, but for the people of Dundee looking to travel to London and beyond.
“The loss of the link to London City was a huge blow for the city at the time, and I hope, if reinstated, that with this new support it can go from strength-to-strength and properly deliver the route that our city needs and deserves.”
Pete Downes, Aviation Director for London City Airport, said:
“The time is right for the route to return to London City. After spending time in Dundee I got to see first-hand the renaissance the city is undergoing which makes it highly marketable, not just to tourists who want to visit the V&A or play a round of golf at Carnoustie, but to businesses and investors as well.
“We believe UK regional connectivity can thrive with conveniently timed, competitively priced, multi-daily services – and this alongside the fact we can get passengers to and from central London in 20 minutes – is what we are proposing for the Dundee service.
“It’s a proposition that will be better for passengers, tourism and business. The fundamentals are strong and I am confident that it’s a market that can and will grow in the years ahead.”
Tony Banks, Founder and Chairman of Balhousie Care Group, said:
“Dundee is in the midst of regeneration, with £1 billion investment and 7,000 new jobs being created through the Dundee Waterfront project alone.
“As an entrepreneur and business owner operating across industries, I am a passionate advocate for Dundee and the opportunities the city brings for developers, investors and business alike.
“Not only is Dundee the up-and-coming city of culture, named the best place to live in Scotland, and recognised for education, innovation and design, but our cheap business rents are hugely desirable - up to 50% cheaper than our neighbours in Edinburgh.
“Now it is crucial we have the right infrastructure to links to connect Dundee to global business and tourism. Reinstating the London City Airport route would undoubtedly connect Dundee to not only to London, but the rest of the world and I give my full support to this submission.”
Notes for editors
- More information on the PSO tender process can be found here: https://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=APR352643
- The current service currently operates between Dundee Airport and London Stansted Airport
- As numbers have declined on the above route, passenger numbers have soared between Edinburgh Airport and London City Airport, to over half a million in the last 12 months.
- The tender specifies a minimum of two daily weekday services, though a London City option would allow for a potential three times daily option. There would be 1 service on the weekend.
- London City Airport offers a fast, efficient airport service along with a 30 minute check-in and rapid transport connections into central London for as little as £2.80 on the Docklands Light Railway.
- London City Airport is undergoing a £500m transformation programme that will significantly increase capacity at the capitals most central airport. See the airport fly through animation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtPtEcNXfu0
- London City Airport is currently out to consultation on its Draft Master Plan 2020-2035 that predicts the airport handling 11m passengers and 151,000 flight movements per year by 2035. More information can be found here: https://www.londoncityairport.com/corporate/consultation