London's most central airport is becoming increasingly popular, both for business and leisure trips in Europe, and it is set to grow even more rapidly in 2019.
London City Airport has published its official annual passenger figures, which last year totalled a record-breaking 4.8million.
The volume of annual passengers comprises both arriving and departing customers – and is the highest ever recorded for the 31-year old airport, located in the fast-growing Royal Docks area of London.
It represents a 6.4% increase in passengers year-on-year, compared to the 4,511,107 passengers in 2017.
The number of annual flights in 2018 totalled 75,271, slightly fewer than in 2017 with the passenger growth being achieved through larger aircraft and higher load factors.
The busiest month was July, when 471,519 customers travelled – reflecting how an increase in leisure routes from London City is diversifying the mix of passengers beyond business travel. Leisure passengers, which include tourists using the airport as the most convenient gateway to visit the capital, now make up around half of all passengers.
The most popular outbound leisure destinations in 2018 were Florence, Ibiza, Malaga and Mallorca with city breaks to Berlin and Lisbon also in the top 20.
The most popular routes overall were Amsterdam (621,803 passengers), Edinburgh (494,776) and Dublin (480,890) with notable year-on-year increases for the Belfast City route operated by Flybe (up 52.5%) and Milan Linate (up 46.5%) operated by British Airways and Alitalia.
Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said: “In what was a remarkable year for London City Airport, we have seen demand reach a new peak, our airlines invest in new services, and passenger satisfaction increase. It’s proof that the fundamentals of London City – speed, convenience, connectivity and excellent customer service from the heart of London – remain very strong.
“As we take forward a transformative £500 million development programme, which will be complete in 2022, London City Airport can play a much bigger role supporting this thriving international city, connecting London with established and emerging markets and serving a broader range of both leisure and business passengers.”
The airport is also encouraging airlines to invest in new generation, more fuel efficient and quieter aircraft like the A220-100 currently flown by SWISS. During 2018, successful trials were held for the new Embraer E2-190.