As the United Kingdom begins to look beyond lockdown and its businesses take the first steps of recovery, a survey of London City Airport’s customers has shown many travellers plan to get back in the air as soon as possible.
With the airport set to reopen for passenger flights on Sunday 21st June, the survey of more than 4,700 customers found that:
• 42% of the airport’s customers plan to travel for leisure within the next three months – good news but perhaps not too surprising with summer holidays looming large after many weeks spent stuck at home
• 41% of City’s flyers anticipate they will take a flight for business within the next three months - contradicting claims that business travel is over
Commenting on customers’ responses, London City Airport Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair, said:
“This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging. It shows a desire to not only enjoy a holiday soon after nearly three months of lockdown, but to get back to business travel as well. We have worked hard to create a safe environment at the airport, so they can get back to flying in confidence. At the same time, we have been careful not to sacrifice the speed through the airport which passengers have always valued and is now more important than ever, as these results show. We will also be making a number of announcements with our airline partners in the coming weeks which we hope passengers will be excited by”
“With the aviation market opening up across Europe this week, it is my hope that air bridges can be agreed quickly with low risk European neighbours. This news would be a shot in the arm for the industry as well as for the wider UK economy.”
Adam Tyndall, Transport Director at London First added:
“This survey reinforces the need for the Government to switch quickly to risk-based approach to international travel. Both blanket Foreign Office advice not to travel abroad and the mandatory two-week quarantine for all arrivals into the UK should be limited to the highest risk countries. Aviation can play a vital role in the economic recovery - from exports and professional services through to universities and hospitality - but only if the Government removes these indiscriminate constraints and reverts to a nuanced, risk-based approach."
Return to flying
The first flights to resume at London City Airport will serve domestic routes, providing vital connections to cities and regions around the United Kingdom as the country begins its recovery.
On Sunday 21st June flight BA 3287 between the Isle of Man and central London is expected to become the airport’s first flight since it suspended operations at the end of March in response to the escalating public health crisis.
Brand new routes will also begin between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland on Monday 6th July. These will be operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively.
It is expected that staples of London City Airport’s Anglo-Irish route network, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, will return in July, boosting regional connectivity.
With nearly half of customers planning to travel for leisure in the next three months as the summer holidays approach, international flights to in-demand destinations like Ibiza, Florence, Málaga and Palma are also expected to return to London City Airport over the coming weeks.
Safe, Careful, Speedy
During the period that commercial operations were suspended, the airport has been busy working behind the scenes to put in place a wide range of measures that will create a safe environment for passengers and staff. Designed following expert advice to meet official guidance and best practice standards, the airport has been careful not to sacrifice the speed and convenience that frequent City Airport flyers value so highly.
In fact, 59% of customers said speed to and through the airport is very important for them, while 85% of respondents said they would be more likely to use an airport if they can get to their gate in 20 minutes or less.
As part of its measures, London City Airport will limit access to the terminal to only passengers holding a valid ticket on the day of travel and will ask passengers to wear a face covering while at the airport – something which should not prove controversial, with three quarters of customers (76%) indicating that they would choose to wear a face mask anyway.
With social distancing and personal hygiene at the front of everyone’s mind, 78% of City flyers said they were more likely to avoid check-in desks, while 65% said having hand sanitiser stations in multiple locations is very important.
Additional cleaning of key areas and surfaces was deemed to be the single most important measure, with 68% of respondents calling it as very important. London City Airport’s enhanced cleaning regime will include a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment which will be used throughout the airport.
Notes to Editors
London City Airport’s customer database was contacted by email to participate in an anonymous survey, conducted online between 8th and 15th June, 2020.
A total of 4,705 respondents completed the survey by 15th June, 2020.
London City Airport temporarily suspended commercial and private flights on 25th March, 2020, in response to the escalating public health crisis and government lockdown measures.
During the suspension, the aerodrome was made available to government agencies and the military to support the national effort to manage the pandemic.
The airport made a special donation of £50,000 from its Community Fund to nine East London foodbanks, to help their essential work during the crisis.
A range of measures have been put in place at the airport to create a safe and convenient environment for passengers and staff, including:
- An enhanced cleaning regime, including a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment used throughout the airport
- Touch-free hand sanitiser stations
- One-way systems
- Perspex screens at key points of interaction, such as check-in desks
- Clear signage and floor markings to help maintain social distancing and guide you through the airport
- Advance crowd monitoring technology to identify and manage busy areas, using CrowdVision
- Non-contact, automatic temperature checking technology for rapid preliminary screening
- Staff using face masks or visors and gloves
More information on measures and the airport experience is available here.