London City Reveals Return Plans

London City Airport has announced plans to resume commercial operations from the end of June. The restart comes after the facility halted all flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 25.

The East London gateway expects to launch domestic services to key UK cities and regions first, with international flights planned to follow in early July. A statement from the operator said the exact timing of the latter will, “depend on the proposed quarantine of passengers arriving into the UK.”

London City Airport/Andrew Holt
London City Airport has been closed to commercial traffic since March 25 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. London City Airport/Andrew Holt

Since closing in March, staff at the site have been busy working behind the scenes to prepare the terminal so it can offer passengers a “safe, careful and speedy journey through the airport”. A range of steps have been taken including the installation of temperature checking technology both on departure and arrival, providing staff with face masks and visors, and mounting clear instructional signage throughout the facility.

The airport also expects to deploy rigorous and thorough cleaning regimes, including the use of an anti-bacterial surface treatment which will begin to kill all germs upon contact and last for up to 12 months.

Robert Sinclair, CEO at London City Airport, commented: “When our doors re-open again shortly, our ambition is to provide the best airport experience in the UK to our passengers by ensuring we follow industry guidance to the letter and by maintaining our reputation as the quickest London airport to get to and through.

London City Airport
The East London hub is typically served by airlines including British Airways, LOT Polish Airlines and Lufthansa. London City Airport

“While there are many challenges ahead for the UK aviation industry, it is our hope that by outlining the steps we are taking to make the airport safe, and by incorporating the views of our regular travellers into our plans, we will give people the confidence to fly from our airport to destinations across the UK and Europe,” he added.

Passengers will be asked to observe social distancing rules wherever possible in the terminal. The facility plans to deploy a technological solution which can detect areas where there is a high concentration of passengers who can then be directed to quieter areas.

While closed to commercial traffic, London City welcomed the Royal Air Force on multiple occasions as they conducted training flights using various types. In March, a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft landed at the site, while the following month, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter did the same.

London City Airport/Andrew Holt
The airport has used to lull in traffic created by the closure, to make progress on key airside improvement projects. London City Airport/Andrew Holt

The gateway’s proximity to a temporary hospital in the nearby ExCeL London exhibition centre has been cited as a possible reason for the visits by the military.

In 2019, the East London facility – which is usually served by airlines including British Airways, LOT Polish Airlines and Lufthansa – handled more than 80,000 aircraft movements, while passenger numbers topped five million.