As the UK 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 21 June, the survey of more than 4,700 customers found that:
- 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
- 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
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.”
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 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 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.
Adam Tyndall, transport director at London First, said: “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.”
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.
A total of 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.