When Helvetic’s E190-E2 touched down at London City Airport for the first time last week, it heralded a new era for the central London airport. Quieter, more efficient, and popular with passengers, the E2 is picking up where the E-Jet left off.
City has long been a key stomping ground for the Embraer jets, with more than 50% of its capacity delivered by the Brazilian aircraft since 2016. But now, the Embraer E-Jets account for more than 90% of the capacity at the airport. We take a look at its growth in recent years.
Dominant for five years
Embraers have long been dominant at London City. For the past five years, the E-Jets have been the most prolific aircraft operating to and from the city center airport, flown in by BA’s Cityflyer, KLM Cityhopper, Stobart and many others.
In terms of seats offered, the E-Jet has far and away been the major provider. However, in the past, there have been other significant types flying into LCY airport. In 2016, the E-Jet was competing with the Avro RJ for market share. Flown by Cityflyer, SWISS, Cityjet, and others, the tiny quadjet was just as common on the apron as the Brazilian regional jet.
The Dash 8 was prolific too, particularly with Flybe who operated some 150 or so flights per month with the type from City. With Flybe no more, the only operator still flying the Dash into London City is Luxair, with a mere 70 or so flights per month from now on.
Among the other contenders, the A220/CSeries was flown into London City until April 2020 by SWISS. Now, the E190-E2 is set to take its place, as Helvetic operates the route on a wet lease basis for SWISS passengers. The largest aircraft to fly from City, BA’s lightly loaded A318, has also disappeared from the roster. Other aircraft including the BAe 146, the Fokker 50 and the Saab 2000 have also not been scheduled to fly from the airport going forward.
Changing market share
Five years ago, the E-Jet accounted for around 50% of the capacity flying out of London City. Since this July, this has risen to more than 90%, with the market share rising as we move into the winter season.
From September, the share is 95%, rising to 95.7% in December. The only other aircraft scheduled to operate from City this winter are the Dash 8, the A220, ATR turboprops, and a couple of flights by the Dornier RJ. Primary operators of the E-Jet will be Cityflyer, KLM Cityhopper, Helvetic and Lufthansa Cityline.
SWISS has scheduled its A220 from October onwards, but this will likely be demand-dependent. If traveling to and from the UK remains tricky, it may well request additional wet lease capacity from Helvetic rather than flying the Airbus on the route. Important to note is the amount of E-Jet capacity that is present – more than 100,000 seats for the last four months of 2021.
London City has set itself up to be a highly functional airport for the E-Jet, with new stands and a separate taxiway allowing more flights per hour. With the quieter, more efficient E2 now certified to fly to and from the airport, it looks to remain a firm fixture at the city center airport for many years to come.