London City Airport unveiled plans for a major investment in refurbishing its departures area to enhance the customer experience for its passengers and celebrate London businesses and brands
The airport is embarking on a £12m upgrade along with SSP, Lagardère Travel Retail and WHSmith, which will see more seating, two new stylish dining experiences, duty free expansion, new retail space, more washrooms and a brand-new look and feel throughout the departure lounge.
The refurbishment, which is set to be completed by Summer 2023, will be carried out in phases with new food & beverage and retail units opening before old ones close, to create a seamless transition for passengers using the airport.
Lagardère Travel Retail will launch a tailored Aelia Duty Free Store including an ‘It’s London’ boutique celebrating the best of local producers and distilleries with a seasonally rotating offer.
Exciting premium brands such as Creed and Aesop will be welcomed and passengers will be able to enjoy a wide range of refreshments from locally crafted beers to an expanded range of champagne, which will sit in a stylish ‘Champagne Cave’.
The upgrade will increase seating by 30 per cent (950 in total), with the creation of a new area in front of a brand new 200sqm flagship WHSmith store in Autumn 2022, which will also boast an expanded and distinctively London product range, and one-stop-shop solution with books, magazines, health & beauty products, souvenirs, digital accessories, plus food and drink options.
The airport’s “City Bar & Grill” will be replaced by the new “Juniper” restaurant in Spring 2023, which will provide passengers with a greater level of service from a new bar area and full-service kitchen, plus an overall increase of 80 covers.
In addition, the airport’s “Cabin Bar” will be replaced with a new SSP restaurant brand offering a new menu, greater levels of service and an overall increase of 20 covers.
The airport is also upgrading existing washroom facilities, including creating a new facility in its west pier, revamping those in international arrivals and doubling the size of facilities immediately after security.
As part of London City Airport’s commitment to sustainability, the refurbishment will also see 98 per cent of waste produced by construction be diverted from landfill and recycled. Partners will also support the airport’s ambitions to eliminate all single use plastics, to become a zero-waste airport and to be a London Living Wage Zone.
Feedback from passengers indicated they were keen to see improvements in the number of seats, the standard of washrooms and improved food & beverage options. Recently, London City Airport also made an investment in upgrading to high-speed, unlimited Wi-Fi for passengers, and overall, the £12 million investment represents a commitment to providing an airport experience that not only provides speed, but choice and space.
More immediately, a new eatery ‘Soul & Grain’ has already opened, increasing the range of fresh food, including more vegan and vegetarian options, available to passengers.
London City Airport Chief Executive Officer, Robert Sinclair, said: “Whilst Covid has postponed our plans to build an entirely new terminal building, it has not diminished our ambition to invest in providing a London centric experience we know passengers want and have been waiting for.
“Our recovery in 2022 has been strong, and we and our partners, want to be ready to deliver an even better service in 2023 for even more passengers.
“The airport, Lagardère Travel Retail, SSP and WHSmith are also committed to championing ‘Brand London’ and amazing products from across our capital. It’s especially pleasing that they also share many of the ambitions outlined in our Sustainability Roadmap.”
Richard Lewis, CEO of SSP UK & Ireland said: “We are very excited to continue partnering with London City Airport and to be launching some of our newest concepts that our customers love. Soul & Grain has been created this year in response to our customers’ demand for fresh, balanced options available on the go and we’re very proud to propose a premium, nutritionally balanced menu alongside fantastic artisan coffee.”
Spencer Sheen, Business Development Director, WHSmith Travel, said: “We are delighted to be bolstering our partnership with London City Airport with the delivery of a brand new WHSmith store as part of the airport’s refurbishment investment. The store will provide customers with all the essentials for their journey and will include a tailored range of products offering a real sense of place in London for customers travelling through the airport. The opening of our new WHSmith store follows the launch of our new store from our world-leading technology retailer, InMotion, in the terminal earlier this year, which has received great feedback from customers.”
Marion Engelhard, MD of Lagardère Travel Retail UK & Ireland said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with London City to bring our flagship Aelia Duty Free store as part of this terminal upgrade. This store will express a sense of London like no other through its thoughtful design and our distinct focus on local products and suppliers that brings the best of London to the airport.”