20 AUGUST 2012

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Article from BTNews 20 AUGUST 2012

COMMENT:

Stratford International Airport – In the London Borough of Newham

Your Editor must express an interest in the following.  As an Executive Board Member of Brymon Airways back in 1987 he actually conjured up the name London City Airport.  At the time the airport developer, John Mowlem and Company, were wrestling with a designator for the former quay in what was then a pretty remote part of Docklands.  Name it after the company was one thought and Churchill International another.  A chance remark by Brymon Chairman, the late Charles Stuart, that his wife Anne had attended City of London School for Girls clicked with yours truly and a press release suggesting London City Airport for the new operation ensured.  The title was clearly the correct one and quickly caught on.  Not so the three letter IATA code LCA which Brymon tried to pinch from Larnaca (which it still has).  LCY is in fact fine.

Following a story in The Business Travel News (see BTN 6 August), London City Airport has put out one of the daftest press releases of recent times complaining bitterly regarding the official IATA designation of Southend Airport as London Southend.  Never mind that LCY is not in the City but in the London Borough of Newham.  Heathrow is partly in Hounslow, another London Borough.

Is London City, now under a new Chief Executive, worried about the competition?  It should not be.  It is a fine airport, well linked into the capital’s transport system via the DLR and moving around three million passengers a year, mostly on business trips.  Southend, which dates back to 1915, has had a new lease of life under the Stobart ownership.  It will move around half a million passengers over the next 12 months, and has, as its main operator, easyJet, whose aircraft cannot even get into LCY.  It certainly deserves the London designator.  Readers may recall that one of the best schemes for a new London airport, scuttled by the Wilson government in 1974, was at Maplin, just to the east of Southend. 

Commenting on the IATA decision, Matthew Hall, Chief Commercial Officer of London City Airport, suggested that the actual number of airports entitled to call themselves ‘London’ airports is one.  “Giving the ‘London’ designation to an airport which is nearly an hour away by train is faintly ridiculous and extremely misleading.  You have to feel for the visitor who expects to land in London and ends up in a field on the east coast”.

No doubt he will also blame Michael O’Leary for this nonsense.  It is interesting to note that Carcassonne, 60 miles from Toulouse, after which he controversially named it, has now been relegated on the Ryanair website, probably half its customers going east rather than west.  It stands on its own feet as Carcassonne Airport.

London Southend must be delighted with the publicity surrounding the LCY move.  Yes, you can fly to Barcelona from both, but not New York.  Both have a railway station.  And both are very easy to transit.  Parking is cheaper at Southend.

Everyone agrees that if London is to move ahead it needs further airport capacity.  People are geographically not as daft as London City is trying to make out.  They know where they are going too.  Ryanair has proven that.

The London airports need to work together to ensure that our city remains the commercial and tourist capital of the world.  London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, London Stansted and London Southend. In this publication, however, we tend to omit the word London when writing about these airports to  keep each story to a maximum of 200 words. www.londoncityairport.com

Click below for the LCY press release

 

YOUR EDITOR'S POST SCRIPT.  BTNews does not wish to split hairs concerning the London City press release but the Olympic Stadium is five miles from the airport, Canary Wharf four miles (both according to Google Maps).  IATA stands for the International Air Transport Association (not authority). And yes, if you are an Olympic athlete, and on a domestic flight, you can be in the London City Airport DLR railway station in even less than 10 minutes of touching the tarmac.


What’s Next, London Basingstoke?”
IATA Includes Southend in its Definition of Metropolitan London


The International Air Transport Authority has included Southend Airport in its definition of what constitutes London – giving the airport free rein to call itself ‘London’ Southend despite being over 45 miles and nearly an hour’s train ride from the capital - paving the way for confusion and dissatisfaction amongst inbound and outbound passengers. It is the latest in an increasingly bizarre list of naming decisions, including ‘London Stansted’, ‘London Luton’ and’ London Oxford’.

Commenting on the IATA decision, Matthew Hall, Chief Commercial Officer of London City Airport suggested that the actual number of airports entitled to call themselves ‘London’ airports is one.  “London City Airport is the only airport with a London postcode – the only London airport in London, in point of fact. We’re three miles from the Olympic Park – which is why we’re seeing elite athletes taking the easy route in via LCY. And you don’t need to be an Olympian to get to London fast via LCY – from wheels down on the tarmac to surface transport takes just 10 minutes - plus we’re only three miles from Canary Wharf, 22 minutes to the City and 35 minutes to the West End via direct train station within our terminal building.

“Giving the ‘London’ designation to an airport which is nearly an hour away by train is faintly ridiculous and extremely misleading. You have to feel for the visitor who expects to land in London and ends up in a field on the east coast.

“Why this particular affliction has been allowed to spread within the airport sector is baffling when other sectors have adopted a far more sensible approach  – for example ‘London Zoo’ – is, refreshingly, in London; ‘London Bridge’, again, is in London (apart from the one the Americans bought); as is the ‘London Eye’. You don’t find the London Underground in Swindon.....it’s in London of course. 
    
“The time has come where industry organisations and suppliers need to become more honest with the travelling public - our customers. Unfortunately, if we continue like this, it can only be a matter of time before we see the announcement of London Birmingham, London Liverpool and London Edinburgh’.

For further information: Jeremy Probert, Corporate Communications Director, London City Airport, 07798 708163


Notes to Editors


London City Airport (LCY) is the only airport situated in London itself, just two miles from the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, three miles from Canary Wharf, seven miles from the City and 10 miles from London’s West End – linked to all via the LCY Docklands Light Railway station.

Welcoming over 3 million passengers in 2011, LCY is not only uniquely convenient for business and leisure travellers, but also offers a unique 20/10 proposition – 20 minute check in, from door to gate, and 10 minute arrival, from tarmac to train. 10 airlines fly out of LCY, serving over 40 destinations – the latest additions for 2012 are Brest, Basel, Mahon, Angers, Quimper, Venice and Aberdeen. LCY is on Twitter (@londoncityairport) and further information about flights, destinations and airport services can be found at www.londoncityairport.com.

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