London Southend Airport places second in Race to the City challenge from Amsterdam to the London Stock Exchange

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UK: With over 160 million passengers expected to use London’s airports this year, London Southend Airport has compared data for each of the locations to see which would win in a race to the city.

The race started at an origin common to all the main airports and one of the most popular – Amsterdam. It ended at a London icon –the Stock Exchange (or at the platform you would step on to at nearest tube, St Paul’s, when arriving by London Underground).

To calculate the race times, London Southend Airport added together the flight time, aircraft taxi time from touch down to gate, walking time from gate to airport exit and public transport from the airport exit to the platform at St Paul’s. This gave a total time for each airport.

Southen Race infogr web

First was London City Airport, taking 70 minutes in total from Amsterdam to the London Stock Exchange. This is based on a 26-minute flight time, 3 minutes of aircraft taxi time from touch down to gate, a gate to exit walking time of 5 minutes, followed by public transport from the airport exit to St Paul’s tube station of 36 minutes.

London Southend wasn’t far behind, with a total journey time of 99 minutes, comprised of a 24-minute flight, five-minute aircraft taxi and a walk of just three minutes from the gate. The final leg, 67 minutes of public transport to St Paul’s, is by far the longest part of the journey.

Despite the speed and convenience of the Heathrow Express, London’s biggest airport only comes third in this race to the city. That’s down to a lengthy 10-minute aircraft taxi time and a 15-minute walk from the gate, as well as the 52 minutes of public transport needed to get to St Paul’s. In total it should take 104 minutes from Amsterdam.

Gatwick was up next with timings as follows: 27 mins (flight), 10 mins (aircraft taxi), 22 mins (walk from gate to exit), plus 62 mins (public transport to St. Paul’s). Total – 121 minutes.

Stansted: 25 mins (flight), 10 mins (aircraft taxi), 9 mins (walk from gate), plus 69 minutes to St. Paul’s from Stansted. Total: 113 minutes.

And Luton: 26 mins (flight), 6 mins (aircraft taxi), 6 mins (walk from gate), plus 87 mins (public transport from airport exit to St Paul’s – which includes the shuttle bus from the airport to the train station). Total – 126 minutes.

So, the line-up of London Airports, ranked in terms of time from Amsterdam, right into the heart of the city, is as follows:

  1. City (70 minutes)
  2. London Southend (99 minutes)
  3. Heathrow (104 minutes)
  4. Stansted (113 minutes)
  5. Gatwick (121 minutes)
  6. Luton (126 minutes)

Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation (which owns London Southend Airport) commented: “I am a fan of London City airport, and am not surprised to see it top the table, but it has some interesting challenges. It only operates half days at weekends, and between the hours of 06:30 and 22:30 during weekdays. A number of aircraft types are restricted at London City because of noise levels and operational constraints. Visibility and wind are a big issue, something I know for a fact, as London Southend takes more than its fair share of the resulting diverts. But that aside, it is an excellent airport serving London’s financial centre well.

“I was, of course, very interested to see where our own airport, London Southend, figured in the table in terms of the Race to the City. For me, coming second is encouraging and a good start, but it’s still not good enough. London deserves better. Our flagship airport is, without doubt, Heathrow, yet it is ‘mid-table’, at best, on this all-important metric of getting into London. After all, it’s London the arriving passengers want, not the airport!

“So here’s a thought: let’s introduce rail franchises to airports and make it easier for airports to bid for them. At London Southend, we operate our own train station, but what about the rail franchise too? We could tailor the service specifically with the needs of the air passenger in mind, reduce stops, reduce waiting times in between services and reduce further the time into the centre of London.

“Clearly, our service at London Southend is already pretty good but “good, is the enemy of great.” And to become great, we need to reduce air traffic delays, cut taxiing times at airports, minimise transit and immigration times on arrivals and, yes, contribute far more fully to surface access provision. Operating our own rail franchises would be one start point, improving transparency of information to the consumer, as we do here, so that passenger choices are as well informed as they can be, is another. In the end, we have to put the customer at the heart of all we do. It’s how we try to operate London Southend but don’t take my word for it. The next time you travel to or from Amsterdam, give my race a try, and fly superfast through London Southend Airport.”

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