Lufthansa Group carrier SWISS will return to London City Airport with its Airbus A220. The airline is initially set to operate two rotations a week before gradually restoring service on the route as travel restrictions between the two cities are hopefully relaxed.
Business travelers make up a considerable portion of London City Airport’s typical passenger demographic. Given that international business travel remains at a near standstill, the airport has possibly suffered the most out of any in the London area, closing its doors altogether at the height of the first wave of COVID-19. Now, the airline is looking to build its operations back up.
Return of the SWISS Airbus A220
Today marks the return of the SWISS Airbus A220 to London City Airport. Flying from Zurich, the Airbus A220 flight is set to last one hour and 40 minutes. Following the services’ relaunch today, SWISS will initially serve the central London airport twice a week.
The airport hopes to increase the schedule with SWISS this summer. Of course, this will depend on the demand for the route, which itself will almost certainly depend largely on whether Switzerland is placed on the UK green list, leading to the end of quarantine for travelers from Zurich.
Switzerland is currently on the UK’s amber list, meaning that arrivals need to quarantine for at least five days and take at least two PCR tests. According to the UK Government’s foreign travel advice, “Travelers from the UK are not permitted entry to Switzerland”. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as those with a residence permit.
In August, the airline is also expected to reactivate its Geneva to London City route. Recently, the airline’s much larger A340s have been spotted flying to Heathrow, where the airline is trialing IATA’s Travel Pass. Sadly, the A340’s days in the fleet may be numbered.
Commenting on the return of SWISS, Tamur Goudarzi Pour, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, said,
“We are very pleased to resume connections from Zurich and Geneva to London City. Its proximity to the city center and its convenient size with short distances make London City Airport equally attractive for our business and leisure travelers.”
A long way to full recovery
While London City Airport has recovered somewhat from the impact of COVID-19, it still has an awful long way to go until it gets close to 2019 traffic levels. According to data from RadarBox.com, the airport is still operating at just 10% of pre-pandemic levels, with around 24 flights a day on average compared to 236 on the same week in 2019.
At the peak of its first wave of recovery last year, the airport was handling an average of 50 flights a day. While 10% of pre-pandemic flights doesn’t sound fantastic, it was still a vast improvement on the situation this time last year. For April and May last year, the airport was closed entirely.
Related: SWISS Takes Its First Airbus A321neo
Are you pleased to see SWISS’ red and white Airbus A220s returning to London City Airport? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!