Situated in the heart of the UK capital, London City Airport has revealed that it expects pent-up passenger demand to fuel a surge in air traffic growth in 2022. In line with this expected growth the introduction of new routes and the return of popular destinations will result in more than three quarters of 2019 routes operating at the London hub this year.
Commenting on the year ahead, Robert Sinclair, London City Airport’s CEO, said: “At the start of the pandemic we made a conscious decision to work with and support our airlines, as we recognised they were facing the same challenges as we were. Investing in these relationships in the hard times has facilitated what we believe will be a strong bounceback, starting with a really exciting summer schedule from London City.”
Flights to Milan, which saw 275,000 passengers travelling on it during 2019 and is one of the airport’s top performing routes, will be reinstated this year. Barcelona will also return to the air transport hub’s destination network for the first time in almost a decade, while new routes to summer hotspots such as Thessaloniki join established favourites such as Split, Mykonos and Faro. In addition, the announcement of a busy summer schedule for British Airways and the easing of covid restrictions are helping boost the return to business and leisure travel.
Figures show that in 2021 just 714,000 passengers used London City (down 21% on 2020 and 86% on 2019). The data also showed there was a clear spike in passenger traffic at the airport last year once travel restrictions were eased with more than 630,000 passengers using the airport in the last six months.
Business travel is also showing a strong revival on all domestic routes, with Edinburgh the top performer. Outside of the UK, Amsterdam was the airport’s strongest route for business travel with KLM increasing to four rotations per day in the autumn. Other key business routes included Zurich and Geneva. In October and November last year, business travel accounted for 45% of all London City journeys. The announcement of additional testing and self-isolation requirements by government to combat the omicron variant saw passenger demand fall by 40% in December.
“2021 was certainly tough for everyone. However, despite predictions from some to the contrary, we did see the emergence of positive business travel trends, which we believe will continue in 2022 and will be so critical for the economic recovery of London and the UK more widely,” said Sinclair.
“While we are not out the woods yet, the signs from governments in the UK and across Europe are that we are learning to live with covid. I am optimistic that the restrictions that remain today – particularly for vaccinated passengers – will be eased and in time removed altogether, so we can return to the simple and affordable ways of flying before the pandemic.”