City Airport hopes it can get business travellers back, in…

city-airport-hopes-it-can-get-business-travellers-back,-in…

City Airport hopes it can get business travellers back, in…

City Airport hopes it can get business travellers back, in their droves, in 2022
2022-01-19 23:58:00
Like every airport in the UK, London City airport had few passengers in 2021 and 2020, compared to the number before 2019. The number in 2021 was just 15% of the 2019 level. In 2020 it was just 19%. Now its chief executive, Robert Sinclair, is talking up its prospects for 2022.  The airport had to have financial help from its investors, to survive the decline in travellers. But Sinclair is hopeful that business travellers will return, in high numbers – though it is widely believed that there will be less business air travel after Covid, as so many companies have adapted to internet meetings and videoconferencing, and changed their working patterns. London City airport had been increasing its proportion of leisure air travellers, though they are less lucrative than business travellers.  But with the problems in getting bums back on plane seats, the airport will be hoping to tempt more leisure passengers. They intend to add purely holiday routes to Thessaloniki and Barcelona.  But there may be a higher level of awareness of the climate impacts of aviation, meaning a proportion of people choose to fly less for leisure than they did in the past.  .Tweet   City Airport boss banks on revival of business travel to pre-pandemic levels Sinclair resists shift away from corporate to leisure customers as investors offer financial backing to help navigate crisis London City Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair secured new funding to help it survive the collapse in passenger numbers By Philip Georgiadis, (FT Transport Correspondent) 17.1.2022 London City Airport’s boss is banking on the revival of corporate travel to help it recover after turning to lenders and shareholders to raise hundreds of millions of pounds to navigate disruption from the pandemic. Robert Sinclair said he is “very optimistic” the travel industry will recover rapidly from the impact of the Omicron variant, and predicted a “step change” in demand for flying from this summer. “Two years into this pandemic, I think hopefully we are starting to see the end of it . . . the government’s messaging around living with Covid is hopefully resonating with people,” Sinclair told the Financial Times. Significantly, he has resisted shifting the airport’s model away from lucrative corporate customers, despite fears business travel could struggle to recover to pre-pandemic levels in an era of videoconferencing, changing work patterns and climate awareness. In the autumn, when passenger numbers hit their highest levels of the crisis, business travel returned to 35 to 40 per cent of normal levels, he said. London City has the highest proportion of business flights of all UK airports, a status Sinclair guards “jealously” because it attracts airlines looking to generate more money per passenger through higher fares. Shareholders are also backing the airport through new funding with £200m in loans and a £190m private placement to help it survive the collapse in passenger numbers. The “strong support” from shareholders and lenders underlined the long-term resilience of airports as attractive investments, said Sinclair. “It has been very good for us to see the response from the financial markets, that I think do not see this as being an existential event,” he added. His optimism follows two torrid years for an airport that has built up a loyal following from business executives who value its proximity to London’s financial districts and emphasis on quick,

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