More local people are using London City Airport with summer peak fares cheaper than Heathrow and Gatwick

  •   London City Airport sees 22% year-on-year rise in number of passengers who live within three miles
  • YouGov polling of eight boroughs finds 42% of local people say they are likely to use the airport in the future and 59% have a positive opinion of the airport
  • Aviation Economics research shows Heathrow and Gatwick fares were more expensive than London City in August 2018 on a route-by-route basis
New analysis by London City Airport of 2017 and 2018 Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) postcode data has found that in 2018, 143,000 departing passengers used the airport who live within a three-mile radius - a 22% increase from 117,000 passengers in 2017.
When residents are combined with departing passengers that were visiting or working in the local area, the number of passengers in a three-mile radius totalled 547,227 in 2018, more than 11% of the total passengers using the airport last year.
Journeys originating in four East London boroughs nearby also saw a marked increase. Residents, local business workers, and tourists starting their journey in Barking and Dagenham grew by the highest margin year-on-year, up 75%, alongside Greenwich (34%) and Hackney (7%). In the airport’s home borough, Newham, passengers increased 10% year-on-year, representative of 350,000 passengers.
A new video released today, introduces some of the local people choosing London City as their gateway for trips abroad, with destinations including Split, Rotterdam and Ibiza. The airport has added Prague, Budapest, Vilnius and Antwerp to its route map this year. The rise in local passengers reflects an ongoing trend around London City Airport, in the heart of East London, which is home to one of the fastest-growing populations in the UK - outstripping anywhere else in the city in terms of growth in jobs, homes and office space.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer for London City Airport, said:
“While the airport remains the firm favourite for business travellers across London, it’s clear from this new analysis that more and more local people are taking advantage of our extensive network of destinations, and the convenience of their home airport.”
“The ‘fly local’ trend is good for passengers and we look forward to continuing to share the benefits of our growth with the community, not just in terms of job creation and educational and charitable contributions, but increasingly as an airport they can use for holidays and business trips.”

Recent online YouGov polling of nearby boroughs found that local people want to use the airport, with 42% likely to use the airport in the future, particularly those aged 25-54 or living in Newham (56%), Greenwich (52%) or Tower Hamlets (52%). Respondents generally cited the lower fares and an increased choice of destinations as aspects that would encourage greater usage.
Dispelling the myth that London City is a uniformly expensive airport, recent work by Aviation Economics, using Apex fares data, found London City‘s average fares in August 2018 were below Heathrow and Gatwick on a like-for-like basis. In the peak summer season, the fares for leisure destinations served from London City, the city’s most central airport, were comparable, or indeed cheaper, than the two largest London airports. A further saving is also possible once the total cost of the journey is factored in, with a DLR one-way fare at peak (zones 1-3) costing just £3.30 to get to or from the airport.

The YouGov polling also found that the majority of respondents (59%) had a positive opinion of the airport. Residents of Newham had the largest proportion of positive feelings towards the airport (65%). Positive sentiment was consistent across every borough and every age group. Additionally, when asked about London City Airport generally, a group of residents answered that the airport prioritised local people when employing staff and that it had a positive economic impact on the region.

An East London growth trend, and a more extensive choice of destinations, has contributed to an increase in holidaymakers, who are choosing the convenience of the airport on their doorstep for their getaways. Last year, CAA survey data identified that the proportion of leisure and business passengers using City Airport is now evenly split, 50/50. Business passengers include local businesses and SMEs, which utilise a range of domestic and European connections. From the end of October, British Airways will add extra frequency to five of the most popular destinations - Berlin, Dublin, Edinburgh, Florence and Glasgow – as the winter schedule comes into effect.
The increase in local passengers comes at a significant time for London City Airport. Having collected the award for Best Airport in Europe - for airports in the 2 to 5 million passengers per annum category at the Airport Council International’s Airport Service Quality awards - it welcomed 5 million passengers between August 2018 and August 2019, for the very first time breaking the 5 million threshold over the course of 12 months. Construction is also well underway for its airport of the future as part of a £500 million development programme, and the airport’s Draft Master Plan consultation, outlining a framework for sustainable growth over the next 15 years, is currently subject to public consultation until 18th October. The airport predicts that the growth outlined in the programme could create up to 2,500 additional jobs locally and will deliver an overall economic contribution of £2 billion per year by 2035.

Notes for editors
  • The London City Airport analysis is based on CAA 2017 and 2018 data.
  • CAA post code data is derived from the home or origin post code of a sample of 2,258 self-classifying passengers out of a total sample of 7,332 respondents from London City Airport for 2018 (30%) and 1,986 of a total response of 5,531 for 2017 (36%). These results have been weighted by the CAA against total number of passengers.
  • The total YouGov plc polling sample size was 1,504 adults from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Bexley, and Barking and Dagenham. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th - 22nd January 2019. The survey was carried out online.
  • Aviation Economics compared 27 routes operating at both London City and Heathrow during 2018: Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin Tegel, Billund, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Faro, Rome Fiumicino, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Geneva, Ibiza, Lisbon, Mahon (Menorca), Malaga, Manchester, Milan Linate, Mykonos, Nice, Palma (Majorca), Prague, Reykjavik, Santorini, Venice and Zurich. Aviation Economics compared 22 routes operating at both London City and Gatwick during 2018: Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Berlin Tegel, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Glasgow, Ibiza, Lisbon, Mahon (Menorca), Malaga, Milan Linate, Mykonos, Nice, Palma (Majorca), Prague, Reykjavik, Rome Fiumicino, Santorini, Venice, and Zurich
Journey origin by borough (including residents and visitors) CAA 2017 / 2018 
Borough No. of passengers 
No. of passengers 
% change
Barking and Dagenham 37,312 65,145 75%
Greenwich 182,840 244,144 34%
Newham 318,319 349,771 10%
Hackney 175,904 188,596 7%