LONDON – It has been announced that British Airways’ (BA) subsidiary BA Cityflyer (CJ) has restarted operations out of London City Airport (LCY).
The first flight took place yesterday June 21 with BA3287 operating a COVID-19 public health crisis flight. It was also the first flight since LCY closed its doors on March 25 following the nationwide lockdown.
On June 3, LCY announced its plans to restart commercial operations by the end of the month. The first routes expected to be unveiled will be those to key UK cities and regions, with international flights to land at LCY in July.
BA CJ is currently an all-Embraer fleet flying 18 E190 and six E170.
Statement from London City CEO
Commenting on yesterday’s restart was London City Airport CEO Robert Sinclair, who expressed great relief.
“The restart of some services at London City Airport by our home-based carrier, British Airways, is good news for business and leisure passengers and we hope signals the start of the road towards a recovery.”
“We believe there is demand from passengers to get back to flying and we have worked hard to make that possible – putting in place appropriate measures to make the airport safe and working closely with British Airways to restore some popular routes and important connections.”
“We are looking forward to flights beginning to re-start and working with British Airways to grow passenger volumes and build on their route network in time as confidence returns.”
Routes set to resume out of London City
The following routes are understood to be the first to restart operations at LCY:
- Isle of Man
- Palma de Mallorca
It is understood that out of these routes, the London City-Isle of Man route will operate on a daily basis, offering a vital connection point to the mainland UK.
Health and safety measures at LCY
The airport also stated that “a range of measures have been put in place to create a safe environment for passengers and staff” which includes:
- An enhanced cleaning regime, including a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment called Zonitise, used throughout the airport
- Touch-free hand sanitiser stations
- One-way systems
- Perspex screens at key points of interaction, such as check-in desks
- Clear signage and floor markings to help maintain social distancing and guide you through the airport
- Advance crowd monitoring technology to identify and manage busy areas, using CrowdVision
- Non-contact, automatic temperature checking technology for rapid preliminary screening
- Staff using face masks or visors and gloves
London City Indicates High Demand For Reopening
The airport had also conducted a survey over the last week, to discover that 79% of people were very likely or quite likely to travel when they are told it is safe to do by the Government and airlines/airports.
It also stated that 42% of such customers are planning to travel for leisure within the next three months, with 41% being for business.
The airport believes that based on the strong approval rating for business travel, the claims of business travel being over is considered as contradictory and false by LCY.
What about the A318?
For British Airways, London City Airport is famous for its all-business class Airbus A318 that operates to New York JFK via Shannon Airport.
The 32-seater jet, of which only one is left operating, is currently stored at Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD/LEMD) where it is awaiting its fate according to Planespotters.net.
According to The Points Guy, the suspension of the famous BA1/2 flight is valid until September this year.
This suspension, however, could be extended, especially with the latest news about the 747-400 in its fleet are due to remain in storage for a considerable time whilst this pandemic is ongoing.
The point ultimately exemplifies the lack of demand still ongoing within the aviation industry.
Positive news amid a volatile environment
But even with London City Airport saying that business travel is strong, is it going to be strong enough to make the A318 remain in the fleet?
That is the significant question that needs answering, especially in a volatile position this virus has put our beloved industry in.
Either way, it is something of positive news that London City Airport is reopening up for business and is remaining cautious at the same time.
For British Airways, this will be a breath of fresh air as it aims to move on from what has been a turbulent and negative business environment in the wake of the pandemic.