Published on Thursday, March 26, 2020

London City airport offered to Government as nearby ExCel centre turned into hospital


London City Airport has suspended all commercial and private flights for the next five weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The airport closed to the public last night and it has been offered to the Government 'to support the national effort' against Covid-19.

The Docklands airport is just a three-minute drive to the ExCel Centre, the convention centre that hosts World Travel Market every November, which is being turned into a temporary 'Nightingale' NHS hospital for 4,000 patients during the coronavirus crisis.

London City said staff will continue to be employed at the airport, which usually handles around five million passengers a year.

In a statement released yesterday, it said: "Following the
government's latest instructions in response to the coronavirus outbreak, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all commercial and private flights from the airport.

"This will begin in the evening on Wednesday 25 March and is expected to last until the end of April. We will keep this under review.

"At this point in this fast-moving and unprecedented situation, we think this is the responsible thing to do for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, passengers and everyone associated with the airport.

"While commercial and private flights will temporarily stop, we have offered the use of London's most central airport to the Government in case it can be used to support the emergency services, military or other government agencies. 

"We will work with the authorities to support the national effort to combat the outbreak of this virus and provide care to people in need."

Gatwick has closed some piers in both its North and South terminals due to a drop in demand, and 200 people have been made redundant. Chief executive Stewart Wingate and others in his team have taken a 20% salary cut.

Manchester Airport has closed one of its two terminals and Gatwick has closed some piers due to a drop in demand.

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