More people using domestic flights helped drive up passengers numbers using London City airport to top five million last year.
Annual growth of 6.3% helped the docklands airport achieve record throughput, with rising levels of leisure travellers.
Latest Civil Aviation Authority data shows that leisure passengers account for 55% of people travelling to and from the airport, amounting to 2.8 million in 2019.
“This demonstrates the diversification of the airport’s customer base and increased relevance in the leisure market, which includes tourists using the airport as the most convenient gateway to visit the capital and the rest of the UK beyond,” London City said.
While Amsterdam remained the top service, with growth of almost 7% to 664,621 passengers, the airport pointed to “impressive growth” on key domestic routes and to Dublin.
Edinburgh (511,116) and Dublin (460,132) continued to be the second and third most popular routes respectively.
Passenger numbers were up on routes to Belfast by 14.7% to 210,936, Glasgow by 10.2% to 252,980 and Edinburgh by 3.3% to 511,116.
The addition of a new Dundee route in 2020 will strengthen the airport’s UK connections.
Overall, growth in passenger numbers was driven more by new markets and seasonal leisure services, than by many established routes.
The launch of LOT Polish Airline’s routes to Budapest, Vilnius and Warsaw brought an additional 194,000 passengers through the airport.
British Airways’ subsidiary BA CityFlyer continued to drive growth as the airport’s largest airline with an extra 195,000 passengers generated through additional aircraft and improved load factors, the launch of a Munich route and increased frequency to Rome, Zurich and Edinburgh.
Additional flights by KLM, a new Air Antwerp service with a KLM codeshare, and Flybe deploying larger aircraft on some Edinburgh and Belfast flights also generated extra seats and passengers.
Chief commercial officer Richard Hill said: “It demonstrates that the combination of speed, convenience, excellent customer service and connectivity to and from the heart of London continues to be a recipe for success.
“That is why we are investing half-a-billion pounds in the transformative City Airport development programme to increase capacity and improve our facilities for passengers and airlines.
“This will ensure we can play a greater role in supporting London as an international destination for business and leisure, while also creating more opportunities for people in east London.
“At the same time, we are working on becoming the most sustainable airport in the UK and our carbon neutral accreditation announced last month is a significant milestone in that journey.
“With progress on so many fronts, and new routes to San Sebastian and Dundee already announced, 2020 is shaping up to be another successful year.”
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