Having closed to commercial passenger traffic on 25 March in response to the coronavirus crisis, London City is preparing to reopen for passenger flights on 21 June.
Ahead of that date the airport has conducted a survey that shows many of its customers plan to get back in the air as soon as possible.
The survey found that an overwhelming majority (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.
And contradicting claims that business travel is over, 41% of London City’s flyers anticipate they will take a flight for business within the next three months.
Customers’ responses also revealed insights into what passengers expect from the new flying experience. With social distancing and personal hygiene at the front of everyone’s mind, 78% of London City’s flyers said they were more likely to avoid check-in desks, while 65% said having hand sanitiser stations in multiple locations is very important and 85% said they would be more likely to use an airport if they can get to their gate in 20 minutes or less. Additional cleaning of high-touch areas and surfaces was also deemed to be the single most important measure, with 68% of respondents calling it as very important.
Commenting on customers’ responses, Robert Sinclair, CEO London City Airport said: “This clear early demand from our passengers to get back to flying is really encouraging… 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 to be 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.”
Sinclair added that 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.”
London First Transport Director, Adam Tyndall, added: “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.”
The first flights to resume at London City Airport will serve domestic routes. On 21 June British Airways plans to operate flights to the Isle of Man. New routes will also begin between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland on 6 July. These will be operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively.
To help boost regional connectivity, it is also expected that services to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, will also return in July.