MIAMI – A survey of customers at London City Airport (LCY) shows high demand for air travel as the airport is set to reopen. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said are willing to fly when they are advised that it is safe to do.

As the UK is starting to look beyond the lockdown and its businesses are taking the first steps of recovery, the survey shows that many travelers plan to fly as soon as possible.

More than 40% of those surveyed expect to take to the air in the next three months for business or leisure. The responses from customers also give an insight into what passengers expect from the new flying experience.

Customer survey findings

London City Airport’s customer were contacted by email to participate in an anonymous survey, conducted online between June 8 and June 15, 2020. With the airport about to reopen for passenger flights on Sunday June 21, 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 the 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.
Areal view of LCY.

Statement from London City Airport Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair

“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.”

Statement from Transport Director at London First, Adam Tyndall

“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.”

Picture by: Stuart Bailey

British Airways (BA), first to land at LCY since lockdown

London City Airport temporarily suspended commercial and private flights on March 25, 2020, in response to the escalating public health crisis and government lockdown measures.

On Sunday June 21, flight BA 3287 between the Isle of Man and central London is expected to become the first flight at the airport since it suspended operations.

Brand new routes will also start on Monday July 6 between central London and Teesside in the North East and Dundee in Scotland. These are to be operated respectively by Eastern Airways (T3) and Loganair (LM).

It is expected that staples of LCY’s Anglo-Irish route network, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin, will return in July, boosting regional connectivity.

In addition, with almost half of the customers planning to travel for leisure in the heels of the summer holidays, international flights to in-demand destinations such as Ibiza, Florence, Málaga, and Palma are also expected to return to LCY in the coming weeks.

Tickets are now on sale with British Airways.

Travelers expect a speedy experience

Designed to meet official guidance and best practice standards as per expert advice, LCY says that it has been careful not to sacrifice the speed and convenience that frequent City Airport flyers value so highly.

According to the survey, 59% of customers said speed to and through the airport is very important to them, while 85% of respondents said they would be more likely to use an airport if they could reach their gate in 20 minutes or less.

Photo: Anna Shvets

Health and safety measures at LCY

As part of its measures to create a secure environment for passengers and staff, LCY will restrict access to the terminal to only passengers holding a valid ticket on the day of travel and will ask passengers to wear a face cover while at the airport.

As the airport’s press release states, this is something that should not prove controversial, with three-quarters of customers (76%) indicating that they would “choose to wear a face mask anyway.”

Regarding social distancing and personal hygiene, 78% of City flyers said they were more likely to avoid check-in desks, while 65% said it was very important to have hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations.

Additional cleaning of key areas and surfaces was considered to be the most important single measure, with 68% of respondents finding it very significant.

Thus, the enhanced cleaning regime at LCY will include a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment that will be used all over the airport.

A safe and convenient environment

In summary, the following measures have been put in place at LCY:

  • An enhanced cleaning regime, including a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment called Zonitise, used throughout the airport
  • Touch-free hand sanitizer 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