The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has broken tradition and classified Southend Airport as a London airport. This is the first time the organisation has referred to the airport as such, although the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has classified it as such in the past. This change means that the airport will be known as London Southend to the rest of the world now.
For travellers booking flights through a travel agent, they will be offered Southend as an automatic option when they fly to London. Of course, they will also be offered services to the British capital’s other five airports – Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and London City.
Southend Airport managing director Alastair Welch says that the change in classification means that travellers planning to fly into London will now have more options and opportunities to hear about the airport and what it has to offer. With travel agents offering London Southend with other airports in the capital – particularly when many new consumers are considering ways to travel to London for the Olympics – the airport will have more chances to show the big benefits and customer service they can offer people beyond the other airports in London. This will be true for more than just this summer.
Welch added that they look forward to more people uncovering their new airy and light terminal building, which is close to their new railway station – which has as many as eight trains running into the heart of the capital every hour. Passengers departing from London Southend will only wait up to four minutes to go through security, while arrivals with hand bags only can expect to get from the plane to a train in just 15 minutes. This increases to just 30 minutes when they have to collect luggage. The airport is all about service, simplicity and speed. Even more people will have the option to experience this now.
Although officials at London Southend are happy about the change, officials at London City Airport have slammed this move. They claim that allowing the airport to call itself London Southend paves the way for dissatisfaction and confusion among arrivals and departures. The airport is more than 45 miles from the capital, which will take a one-hour train ride.
London City Airport chief commercial officer Matthew Hall suggests that there is only one airport in London that’s entitled to call itself a London airport – his. It’s the only one with a London postcode, as well as the only one actually located in the capital. They are located three miles from the Olympic Park, three miles from Canary Wharf, 22 minutes from the City, and 35 minutes from West End via a direct train at their terminal building’s station.
The official continued that giving the designation of London to an airport that’s almost one hour away by train is very misleading and kind of ridiculous. It’s baffling why this has been allowed to spread when other sectors have adopted more sensible approaches. For example, the London Zoo, London Eye and London Bridge are all found in the capital. London Underground isn’t found in Swindon, he noted. Industry organisations and suppliers should become more honest with travellers. Unfortunately, he added, it will only be a matter of time before airports in Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh are classified as London airports if this continues.Author's Google+ page