London City airport says that it “expects pent up passenger demand to fuel a surge in growth in 2022”, with more than three quarters of its 2019 routes operating this year.
LCY welcomed just 714,000 passengers in 2021, down 21 per cent on 2020, and 86 per cent down on the 5.1 million travellers which flew into and out of the airport in 2019.
But London City said that of the 2021 figure, 638,785 of those passengers travelled through the airport in the last six months, with business travel accounting for 46 per cent of all journeys in October and November, before demand fell again in December due additional testing and self-isolation requirements as a result of the Omicron variant.
Amsterdam was the airport’s strongest route in 2021, with Edinburgh the best performing domestic destination.
The predictions for this year follow BA’s recent announcement of new routes from LCY to Barcelona, Luxembourg, Milan Malpensa (replacing the previous route to Milan Linate) and Thessaloniki for summer 2022.
London City pointed to the fact that British Airways will be moving “the majority of its Luxembourg traffic to LCY”, alongside Luxair’s soon-to-launch five daily flights to the country, as evidence that business traffic will be further strengthened in 2022.
In August 2020 the airport announced that it would pause its £500 million development programme at the end of that year, with a planned terminal extension being put on hold.
Commenting on the 2021 traffic figures and predictions for the year ahead, London City’s CEO Robert Sinclair 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 bounce back starting with a really exciting summer schedule from London City.
“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.
“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.
“London City will be a huge asset for London in the years ahead and we look forward to welcoming more passengers and building relationships with new airlines so we can connect the capital to more destinations and opportunities across the world.”