Travellers using London City Airport (LCY) may soon have access to far-flung destinations. Current planes using the capital’s most convenient airport are limited in range. The furthest which travellers can fly is to cities like Stockholm or Milan. But all will change if Airbus’ state-of-the-art A318 twin jet gains permission to use LCY.

Last Saturday saw the A318 conduct a test sortie into this environmentally challenged airport with its short runway, limited taxiways and parking space. The result was positive.

“The trials went exactly according to plan,” airport MD Richard Gooding told Business Traveller, “we are now analysing the plane’s environmental impact and it’s highly likely the A318 will come to London City. The A318 is a big step forward for us. It’s the first time a mainstream plane has landed here. This plane can carry 107 passengers in a business and economy configuration [slightly more than the BAe146, currently the largest plane using LCY]. It gives us access to a new market because the A318 can fly farther so we can add destinations like Madrid, Rome and Vienna and one or two of the emerging cities in Eastern Europe.”

Continues Gooding, “The A318 is expected to replace the BAe146 which is no longer in production and will help secure the airport’s long-term development which is expected to quadruple throughput over the next 25 years.”

One drawback is that, Air France excepted, few carriers operate the A318. But that’s not an insurmountable problem. Adds Gooding, “Airbus has assured us it has customers [for the A318] in the wings.”

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