Air Transport World

Boutique airport

Hassle-free LCY, situated where London's Royal Docks once bustled, is plying European markets nicely after near-demise in early 1990s

LONDON--No longer a trip-tip shared mainly by business people (74% of its passengers), London City Airport is taking off steeply as a convenient and comfortable close-in European gateway. In that context, it's in the same league as other easily accessible near-downtown airports such as Florence Amerigo Vespucci, Stockholm Bromma, Belfast City and Berlin Tempelhof.

After seemingly endless financial struggle and doubts about its viability, the smallest and fastest-growing of metropolitan London's airports, flanked by wide strips of dockside water on both sides of the single runway, asserts it finally is profitable and virtually debt-free. LCY is owned by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, who declines to release a detailed financial report. But traffic figures speak for themselves: After a mere 133,567 travelers in its first full year of operation in 1988, and just 245,000 passengers in 1993, a grand total of 1,165,318 passengers was recorded last year, a 60% gain over the 727,601 in 1996.

"This year, we are conservatively forecasting about 1.5 million passengers," says Alan Medlock, who took over as operations director at the end of June. Factoring in an additional 35 destinations, that should bring the airport up to "critical mass." Medlock, previously operations director for the ground-handling division of Sigma Aviation at Manchester Airport, pointed to the record monthly 121,845 passengers in June, up 19% over June, 1997. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.