Canadian consortium buys London City airport for £2bn

London City Airport has officially been sold to a Canadian Consortium for a figure around £2bn. The Airport which is located in Docklands is used mainly by business executives and has been purchased by a consortium led by the Ontario Teachers pension fund and also Borealis who have both also invested in HS1 (High Speed 1).

This business couple were not the only bidders for the London based airport. The Chinese transport company HNA and another Canadian consortium were also in the race for the site, however, the airports price exceeded early expectations. The airport, which serves about 4 million passengers a year has seen tremendous levels of growth in the past 2 years. This is why it’s considered a shame for GIP (Global Infrastructure Partners) to let the airport go from its portfolio, which also includes Gatwick and Edinburgh, especially seeing as the airport was bought for a third of the price 10 years ago.

Unfortunately expansion plans costing around £200m aimed to doubled its passenger traffic by 2030, extending the terminal and airfield to allow 50% more flights has currently been rejected by mayor Boris Johnson. This was amplified by campaigners who aim to shut down operations of an expansion because of the noise pollution and disruption throughout north-east London.

The purchase of the airport could also be detrimental to the relationship with its biggest customer, British Airways. BA’s CEO Willie Walsh claimed that the £2bn purchase was “foolish” and suggested that the company was prepared to move should another company offer a larger landing charge to cover cost of it’s purchase. Walsh also said he could not see how any buyer could “recover or make any return on that investment unless they make significant increases in airport charges”. To put into perspective, Manchester Airport Group’s recently purchased Stansted Airport which has more that 5 times the number of passengers, but was only purchased for £1.5bn. However this could be argued against as London City Airport is in close proximity to Canary Wharf and has an unparalleled location that investors may justifies airlines sustaining higher fares.

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Getting to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Are you visiting the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium this Autumn to catch some of the Rugby World Cup fixtures? If you’re an avid fan of any of the 8 teams playing here and are planning a visit to the new heart of East London, check out our travel information below, comparing the best way to get from the closest airport, London City.

The Fixtures to be held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be;

23rd September – France v Romania 24th September – New Zealand v Namibia4th October – Ireland v Italy7th October – South Africa v USA

It’s pretty easy to get around London, with a vast network of travel options, including underground travel and the famous Black London Cabs (Cockney cabbie is not guaranteed, but makes the experience all the better)!

London City Airport Address:

London City AirportHartmann Road, London E16 2PX.

Distance to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium:

7 miles, 20 mins

By Train

Step off the plane and onto the DLR train, it’s the quickest and easiest option! This service will get you direct to Stratford Station in 25 minutes for as little as £2.30 for a one way trip between Zones 1-3, off peak. If you plan on staying a little longer, Travelcards start from £38, and are valid Monday-Sunday.

By Bus

Bus Number 473 runs direct from the Airport, terminating at Stratford Station, the closest to the stadium. It is then a 10 minute stroll to the stadium. Total journey time will be around 1 hour from airport to stadium, traffic dependant. Please be aware that London Buses do not accept cash – you will need a contactless debit card, Oyster or Visitor Oyster Card.

By Taxi

An average price for a return journey comes in at £35. However this may be subject to change if there are any road closures, as these will be scheduled on match days. Roads surrounding the stadium with be closed between 17:00 and 00:30.

By Car

From £42, you can hire a car from the Airport for direct travel to the Stadium; and you’ll also have the freedom to travel further afield should that take your fancy.

Sat-Nav Postcode: E20 2STLeave the airport and follow signs for the A112 and then Abbot Road/B125Follow this road to join the A12After 6 miles, take a slight left onto Waterdean Road. Parking is limited and is prices range from £1.50-£15, depending on length of stay. You can also park in Westfield Stratford City Shopping centre which is in close proximity.

By Coach

There are no coach services to the park.

Hotels

If you are landing the day before your chosen match, staying to catch a few other matches or plan to extend your trip to sunny England afterwards, check out the latest hotels deals in and around London City Airport and make the most of your stay!


London City Airport expansion plan approved

Exciting news to London City Airport – a £220 million plan to expand this capital city airport was given the all clear. The new and improved airport should be able to handle up to 111,000 permitted annual flights. Currently the airport handles 70,000 annual flights.

According to Newham Council, a decision is still awaited regarding where new runway capacity will be delivered. Some of the aspects of the expansion plans include a noise barrier, flight restrictions and soundproofing packages for residents.

The expansion is said to be completed by 2023 and will feature a new parallel taxiway, 7 new aircraft stands, and terminal building extensions.

The area will also benefit from the addition of 1,500 new jobs.


British Airways to increase London City flights to Isle of Man

Beginning on March 30, British Airways will expand their scheduled flights from the Isle of Man to London City Airport. This summer, the number of scheduled flights will increase from one to three on weekdays, with one flight on Saturdays and two on Sundays.

The new service will provide potential customers with easy access to the centre of London and will also allow them to connect to 25 British Airways international destinations served direct from the Docklands airport, including Frankfurt, Zurich and New York.

Benefits of flying to and from London City include easy access to Canary Wharf and the City of London. With excellent, low cost transport links on the DLR and London Underground, customers can also reach central London in less than 30 minutes.

Check in at London City Airport does not close until 15 minutes before departure for individuals travelling with hand luggage only and 20 minutes for those with checked in luggage.

All-inclusive fares from the Isle of Man to London City are available for booking now on the British Airways website. Fares include complimentary online check in and seat selection up to 24 hours before departure, two pieces of hand luggage, complimentary food and drinks on board including a hot breakfast on morning flights, and no debit card fees.

British Airways is delighted that that they will be able to expand their services from the Isle of Man as there has been a demand for additional flights that are compatible with business and leisure trips to London. The schedule will also make it possible for business travellers to have a full business day in London with the new earlier flights.


SkyWork Airlines returns to London City

A carrier based in Switzerland, SkyWork Airlines, has re-introduced a service between London City Airport and the Swiss capital, Bern. The route, described by the airline’s chief, Tomislav Lang, as a “real alternative” to flying to Zurich and Basel, offers quick access to the ski resorts of Champéry, Adelboden, and Grindelwald.

SkyWork, with its fleet of six aircraft, is one of the larger airlines operating out of Bern Airport. The carrier had previously specialised in routes to Northern Europe and the Balearic Islands, but an expansion to SkyWorks’s schedules, believed to be the largest in Bern Airport’s history, will add flights to Amsterdam, Madrid, and Budapest from October 2011.

The London City service, SkyWork’s only route to the UK, operates six times a week, on every day except Saturday. However, the flight will not reach full capacity until later this year, when the number of flights between Bern and the English capital is boosted to eleven rotations per week. British travellers will then be able to enjoy day trips to the Swiss city.

London City’s commercial chief, Matthew Hall, said that the airport would be “working closely” with SkyWork to “develop the relationship further”. Mr. Hall referred to the 28-year-old airline as an “experienced aviator”. SkyWork’s mettle will be put to the test quickly, however, as the airline will be forced to compete with British Airways and Swiss International Airlines for passengers travelling to Switzerland. The two flag-carriers have enjoyed a monopoly on Bern-bound passengers in the recent past, as they offered the only two routes to Switzerland from London City: Zurich and Geneva.

Currently, SkyWork’s planes depart from the Docklands hub in the evening, at 19.55. Tickets are priced between £113 and £157 (each way) for travel in April.


BA boosts capacity on Cityflyer routes

Cityflyer, a short-haul subsidiary of British Airways (BA), has revealed that its summer timetable from London City Airport will include 39 flights per week to popular leisure destinations. Luke Hayhoe, commercial manager at Cityflyer, said that the expansion was in response to growing customer demand.

From May 2011, Cityflyer will double the number of seats available on flights to Nice in France. Capacity on routes to Palma on Majorca and to the Balearic Island of Ibiza will also increase from July 2011. Perhaps even more exciting, for Docklands flyers, at least, is the addition of three new routes from London City: Faro in Portugal, Malaga in Spain, and the French commune of Pau in the Pyrenees. Flights to Faro begin on June 7. The first plane to Malaga takes off a day later, on June 8.

Pau, on the other hand, will be served by Cityflyer from April 2 2011. Flights to the French town are available from just two UK airports (Southampton and Stansted) at present, making the destination a rather unique addition to London City’s schedules. Pau is located close to the border between France and Spain, but the town has little in common with Mediterranean resorts on similar longitude, such as Marseille and Nice. Fans of motor racing and architecture will find the greatest joy in Pau, but holidaymakers looking for a scenic route to the Pyrenean ski resorts should also consider flying to Pau’s Pyrenees Airport.

Flights from London City to Pau will operate three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The route will use an Avro RJ85 aeroplane, marking it as one of the first new routes from Cityflyer to use an aircraft other than the Embraer 170 or the 190. However, both Faro and Malaga will be served by the new Embraer jets. Cityflyer will travel to the Portuguese resort four times a week, while the route to Malaga will operate on a thrice-weekly basis. The two flights will be available all year round.


New Jersey route, courtesy of Blue Islands

Blue Islands, an airline based at St. Peter Port on Guernsey, will begin flying from London City Airport to Jersey on April 18 2011. The flight, which costs £85 each way, is being marketed at business travellers, according to the carrier’s chairman, Derek Coates.

The move is a bold one. The route between London and the Channel Island has a reputation for being unprofitable. Flybe and Cityjet previously cancelled routes between the two destinations, after passenger interest waned.

As Jersey regards links to London as “vital” to the island’s economy, the success or failure of the connection has implications for local businesses and industries buoyed by tourism, such as hotels and boating. Paul Routier, minister for economic development on the island, referred to the resumption of the route to London as “great news”.

Jersey is an “island of opposites”, to quote the island’s tourist board, located close to the rolling fields of Normandy in France, but inextricably tied to the port cities of southern Britain. The island is famed for its clement summer weather, which easily rivals that of Devon and Cornwall in the UK. The island’s beaches are popular with visitors, providing views out over a turquoise English Channel.

Blue Islands claims that travellers will be able to get from Canary Wharf to the Jersey seaside within two hours. Planes leave London City at 0725 every weekday, and return from Jersey at 1715. The carrier is also offering a Sunday service, which operates to the same schedule as weekday flights. Tickets for the route are already on sale, and can be booked online.


BA piles on the pounds

Regular customers of British Airways (BA) could find themselves out of pocket in future, after the flag-carrying airline increased its fuel surcharge by £12. BA says that the rise reflects the “fluctuating price of worldwide oil” in light of ongoing political crises in North Africa and the Middle East.

The BBC News website says that the average surcharge applied to tickets will be in the region of £75-125, depending on the number of hours that the plane spends in the air.

For example, any flight lasting longer than nine hours, such as London to Singapore, will incur a fuel surcharge of £88, up from £76. On First and Club World flights the levy increases to £125, a difference of £17 over 2010 figures.

Passengers on flights lasting between three hours and nine hours can expect to pay a £75 fuel tax, while First and Club World customers will have to part with £105, increases of £12 and £17 respectively. Durations of less than three hours are considered short-haul flights, and are currently exempt from the increase in BA’s fuel surcharge.

Oil prices have skyrocketed in just six months, from $72 per barrel in August last year to $104 on February 17 2011. The hike has been attributed to a weak dollar and a spate of anti-government protests in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya. Worryingly, Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global, said that it was “unlikely (that) oil prices will settle any time soon".

BA’s fuel surcharge has served as a yardstick for the changing price of oil over the past few years. The London-based airline increased its fuel surcharge in 2008, before reducing it twice in subsequent years. Then, in December 2010, BA added £10 to the fuel tax, as oil prices reached $90 per barrel.


City is ‘Best Airport in UK’

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.


Fly to Malaga and Faro with BA

The weather outside is frightful, as Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and a hundred other artists have crooned since the song was first penned in 1945. The snow has stopped, at least for the moment, but the subsequent thaw and occasional spot of rain have done little to improve the mood of Brits on the early morning commute.

Fortunately, the winter season is almost as lucrative for the aviation industry as the summer months, which means that flights to subtropical resorts, such as Lanzarote, Malta and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, are just a mouse click away.

The winter is also a time when British airlines begin promoting their schedules for summer 2011. Flybe led the charge in September, announcing new routes from Southampton, Gatwick, and Exeter, whilst flag-carrying airline British Airways (BA) has been releasing new flights on an almost weekly basis since October.

BA subsidiary CityFlyer has also been busy, unveiling a route from London City to Stockholm, Sweden, at the end of October, as well as new flights from the Docklands hub to Faro in Portugal and Malaga in Spain. The latter two destinations will be served by three and four weekly flights respectively from June 7 next year. Flights from City to Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Glasgow will also increase in frequency next year.

Summer routes to Palma and Ibiza will re-enter circulation at the end of March following a short hiatus over the winter. The additions combined represent a 40% increase in seats over summer 2010. Luke Hayhoe, commercial manager at CityFlyer, said that the expansion was made possible with the recent purchase of two new Embraer jets.

“There is clearly a large demand for leisure travel from London City and it’s a growing market,” Luke told PR Newswire. The airline chief noted that the addition of Faro and Malaga was a way of “venturing further into the summer sun market”.