London City Airport delays expansion project as pandemic hits demand

London City Airport has announced a “temporarily pause” to its expansion project due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport said it will halt its £480 million scheme at the end of the year as the return of passenger demand to pre-Covid-19 levels “will take longer than initially expected”.

New aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway and new passenger facilities are due to be completed by this stage, but a major extension of the terminal building will be delayed.

London City was the UK’s 12th busiest airport last year, handling 5.1 million passengers.

Its location close to the capital’s financial district made it particularly popular with business travellers.

It was closed for nearly three months from March 25 because of the pandemic.

The airport has since reopened, but is anticipating that passenger numbers for this year will be “well down” on the 2019 total.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “For the time being, we have taken the decision to focus our attention on delivering the vital additional airfield infrastructure which will provide our existing and prospective airline customers with the potential to bring new generation aircraft to this airport in greater numbers, which will be a crucial aspect of how we build a better, more sustainable airport.

“Completing the terminal extension and new east pier very much remains part of our future and, with the foundations for both in place, we stand ready to take those projects forward when demand returns.

“In the months ahead we will work with airlines and Government to help restore confidence to the UK aviation market and we will continue to support our local authority and our communities as they plan for life beyond the crisis.”