Following a survey conducted amongst more than 4,700 customers, London City Airport has identified that many travellers plan to get back in the air as soon as possible once they believe it is safe. Encouraged by this information, the airport will resume flights on Sunday 21 June with domestic routes being the initial focus.
According to the airport operator, 79% were either ‘very likely’ or ‘quite likely’ to travel when they are told it is safe to do so by the Government and airports or airlines; almost half of customers (48%) were very likely to do so.
Forty-two percent of the airport’s customers plan to travel for leisure within the next three months and 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’, declares the airport.
Jonathan Pollard, London Luton Airport’s (LLA) Chief Commercial Officer, spoke to TRBusiness recently for its Adapt & Survive video series. As reported, he will step into the role of Chief Commercial Officer for Gatwick Airport in September.
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.
OPENING UP IN EUROPE
“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.”
On Sunday 21 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.
Brand new routes will also begin between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland on Monday 6 July. These will be operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively.
IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY
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.
As part of new measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, 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 quarters of customers (76%) indicated that they would choose to do in any case.
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.