June 18, 2020 / 12:17 PM / 25 days ago

London City Airport to reopen with domestic focus

FILE PHOTO: General view of the entrance to London City Airport as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - London City Airport is poised to reopen within days after being shut for almost three months during the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Thursday.

The British capital’s fifth-biggest and most central airport said it will serve domestic routes initially, with the first flight expected to be between London City and the Isle of Man on Sunday.

After the pandemic brought most flying to a halt, airlines had hoped to resume international travel from the UK in July, but government quarantine rules introduced on 8 June are deterring holidaymakers even as European borders reopen.

“It is my hope that air bridges can be agreed quickly with low-risk European neighbours. This news would be a shot in the arm for the industry as well as for the wider UK economy,” London City Airport CEO Robert Sinclair said in a statement.

London City, which is popular with business travellers, bankers and politicians for short-haul and regional routes, said that flights to north east England and Dundee in Scotland would start on July 6 and that routes to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin are expected to resume later in the month.

The airport operator is optimistic that passenger demand will return, it said, citing a survey of 4,700 of its customers, 42% of which said they planned to travel for leisure within the next three months.

Passengers will be required to wear face coverings at the airport and there will be enhanced cleaning of key areas and surfaces, London City added.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Goodman

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