Despite ongoing criticism of its expansion plans, London City Airport has been voted the ‘Best UK Airport’ at the Business Travel Awards, an annual ceremony that celebrates excellence in the travel industry. The Docklands hub defeated Bristol, Southampton, and Gatwick airports in the American Express-sponsored category, to take home the gold.
City, the only airport in the capital itself, is the smallest of London’s four hubs, and the 14th largest airport in the UK overall. The Docklands site is notable (among pilots, at least) for its 5.8 degree approach path, which was once described as “stomach churning” by the CEO of jet hire firm, PrivateFly.
Judges at the Business Travel Awards applauded City’s “efficiency in dealing with weather disruption,” presumably referring to the chaos caused by heavy snowfall in December. The London airport does, however, have a peculiar disposition towards foggy conditions on winter mornings, which forced flight delays on October 8, November 16, and December 13, last year. The speed at which City adapted to “heightened security” was also praised.
However, City’s joy will no doubt upset Docklands residents, who recently lost a court case to prevent the airport increasing the number of annual flights by 50%. Fight the Flights, a pressure group, says that London City “already” causes significant pollution, both noise and air, and any further expansion could be devastating for the local environment. The case was dismissed by a judge on January 20, just a few days before the airport was crowned king at the Marriott Hotel in London.
Richard Gooding, chief at London City, was said to be “honoured” and “delighted” with the ‘Best UK Airport’ award. Other notable victors included Flybe in the ‘Best Short-Haul Airline’ category and Europcar in the ‘Best Car Rental Company.’ British Airways collected an impressive four awards, including ‘Best Long-Haul Airline’ and the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ for the flag-carrier’s boss, Willie Walsh.