London City Airport: A shining light during unprecedented times

Guest Author by Guest Author | Mar 2, 2021

Written by Alison FitzGerald, Chief Operations Officer, London City Airport

Without trying to do an impression of Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars, there are just so many people to thank for London City Airport being awarded this amazing honour.

But first and foremost, because without their brilliance we would not be in the running, our staff deserve the most credit. While the Leadership Team may set the challenge of being the speediest mainstream airport to travel through in the UK, it’s our staff in Customer Services, Security and on our Ramp, who deliver it, day in, day out.

Speed has always been in our DNA. For many years it was because we were a small metro airport with business passengers who predominantly wanted to fly in our morning and evening peaks.

London City Airport Stock Photography Taken: 31st January 2020 Picture by: Stuart Bailey Web: Email:

But from 2014, London City Airport started to attract more airlines, more destinations and in so doing, began a journey from around 3M to 5.1M passengers in 2019. And one that welcomed families and holidaymakers right throughout the day, alongside our core business audience.

It’ll hardly be news to the learned ACI readership when I say that these markets have very different needs and expectations, but it’s certainly a challenge operationally, to continue to offer a gold standard service when you are as space constrained as we are.

That’s why we built a technology and transformation team, more or less from scratch, so we could gather data, scrutinize it, and develop solutions informed by it. So, we could continue to offer our USP of getting a passenger from our front door to the aircraft gate inside 20 minutes.

Time is what matters most to our customers and we’ve been unwavering in focussing on it. And it has perhaps been the most crucial factor in our growth story, as it has attracted leisure passengers and more airlines who increasingly viewed London City Airport as a mainstream, capital city airport.

Luckily for us, our growth story has gone hand in hand with recognition from our passengers and ASQ. Just like our data tells us how we’re doing, ASQ not only confirms that, but lets us benchmark against some of the best airports in Europe, and around the world.

And we’ve been lucky enough, over the past 3 years to demonstrate a story of continuous improvement in the ASQ stakes, graduating from highly commended (1-5m category) in 2018 to being amongst the nominees in 2019. To, in 2020, in our first year in the medium-sized airport category, again ending up on the winners’ podium.

While our industry is competitive, it’s also amazingly collegiate and I’ve always been struck by just how happy colleagues in our industry have been to share ideas and experiences. That’s something we have benefited from over the years. Because, at the end of the day, we’re all part of the same industry and we’re all dedicated to providing passengers with the best experience we can.

But before you go thinking this award has given me and the airport a big head, the data also tells us what we need to get better at. And as we build back from COVID-19, we need to create more space for our passengers, improve our food and beverage offering and value for money. These areas, along with being quick and utterly focused on passenger safety, will become our mantra as we scale up operations from this summer and re-commence our growth story.

Alison FitzGerald was appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) at London City Airport in September 2016, having joined the airport as Chief Information Officer (CIO) in January 2014. As COO, Alison has responsibility for the overall airfield operation, security, passenger proposition as well as for the delivery of all technology services to the business, including the forthcoming Digital Air Traffic Control Tower.

The article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

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