Now that explains the Airbus A318 approval at London City

It was all very exciting, but it was also a bit of a mystery why Airbus would go to so much time and trouble to get the Airbus A318 certified for the steep approach to London City Airport. Now I suspect we know – it was so that British Airways could fly the smallest member of the Airbus family to New York…obviously.The airline has this morning announced that it is going to launch twice-daily services from LCY to New York with two new A318s. They’ll have 32 lie-flat seats and it will start some time next year.

This, to put it mildly, is something of a surprise move. But it’s also a permanent niche market, albeit a disproportionately important one.
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It will be a killer offer for a select constituency of people that value flying in and out of an airport located close to London’s financial centre. And some business class flyers who currently use Heathrow may be tempted to switch: LCY is elegantly integrated into London’s surface transportation in a way that makes it a viable alternative for a good chunk of the capital’s citizens.

But perhaps more importantly, this plan seems to be dagger-aimed at the north London based premium-only offerings from EOS and Silverjet. LCY’s catchment area overlaps substantially with that of Stansted and Luton.

However, one of the best things about LCY, as with so many secondary airports, is that not many people use it, relatively speaking, and the ones that do are generally competent travellers. This could be a very nice way to fly.

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4 Responses to Now that explains the Airbus A318 approval at London City

  1. Karen February 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Big mistake — this flight requires an enroute fuel stop??!!! When compared to anything else on the market LON-NYC that goes NONSTOP why the heck would any business traveler want to go out of LCY on a carrier that has to make a pitstop and land in NYC with a chunk of extra time to fuel added to the total flight time??? No thanks!!

  2. Kieran Daly February 4, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Good point – addressed in Silverjet post above

  3. MDB February 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm #

    City to Heathrow:

    - Underground to Paddington – 30 minutes with one change
    - 10 minutes walk to concourse
    - Paddington to Heathrow – 15 minutes plus 7.5 minutes wait time

    Journey time 62.5 minutes.

    City to Docklands
    - 23 minutes (no changes)
    - five minutes walk
    - Total journey time 28 minutes

    Docklands journey time advantage 34.5 minutes.

    Add on the hassle of changing 3 times and the usual mularkly of checking in at Heathrow it suddenly sounds quite attractive.

    (And the tech stop is one-way. Even if you’re put off by the westbound tech you can book east to LCY and return via LHR)

  4. mutuelle santé October 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    This offer will benefit only a group of people who travels a lot. It is so much harder and time consuming to travel with other people who are either for the first time taking a plane or with people going for vacation.

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