Tuesday 8 January 2019 8:09 pm

London City Airport sees record passenger numbers despite a decrease in flights

London City Airport welcomed a record number of passengers in 2018, with a total of 4.8m passengers using the airport.

The figures, comprised of both arriving and departing passengers, represent a 6.4 per cent increase over the previous year and the highest ever seen by the 31-year-old airport.

The number of flights passing through the airport decreased by 5,000 over the same period, with the passenger growth stemming from larger aeroplanes and higher load factors.

The airport’s growth is set to continue throughout 2019 with the addition of a number of new routes.

Two new services began yesterday with Eastern Airways operating a Newcastle service for Flybe and LOT Polish Airlines starting a Warsaw route, which will later be joined by services to Budapest and Vilnius.

British Airways also plans to add four further Embraer 190s to their fleet as part of wider investment in the subsidiary BA CityFlyer, increasing the number of seats from London City by 20 per cent.

Figures announced by International Airlines Group – which owns British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – showed an 8.1 per cent rise in December passenger numbers year-on-year despite a small slip in load factor.

An increase in leisure passengers has also contributed to the airport’s growth, with around half of the airport’s customers consisting of tourist and leisure passengers.

Popular outbound leisure destinations included Florence, Ibiza and Malaga, while the most popular routes overall were Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive of London City Airport, said: “In what was a remarkable year for London City Airport, we have seen demand reach a new peak, our airlines invest in new services, and passenger satisfaction increase.”

“It’s proof that the fundamentals of London City – speed, convenience, connectivity and excellent customer service from the heart of London – remain very strong.”

London City Airport is set to undergo a £500m development, due for completion in 2022, which will allow the airport to accommodate a further two million passengers each year and over 30,000 additional flights.

The new infrastructure includes a terminal four-times the size of existing facilities, eight new aircraft stands, and a parallel taxiway to improve the efficiency of the runway.