Not Such a Fun Day for Air France/KLM

When it first opened, London City Airport was not welcomed by local residents who feared the noise and pollution the new airport would bring. Whilst it took a long time for the airport to become a success, locals quite quickly realised that the airport did not cause too much noise but brought much-needed employment to this rather poor area of East London. The airport also went to extraordinary lengths to communicate with the local community. One of its most successful initiatives has been the annual Airport Fun Day.

London City closes every Saturday lunchtime and does not open again until midday on Sunday so the airport has the perfect opportunity to open itself up to locals and give them a taste of the aviation world. This year’s event was held on Saturday 4th July and was attended by 28,000 people. As well as giving people a good time, the event also raises a significant sum for local charities.

The event is sponsored by by the main companies working at the airport including British Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss, Aer Arann, Travelex, Airbus, Air BP as well as many other companies who have some involvement such as the Docklands Light Railway, the London Evening Standard, Barclays Bank and Linklaters.

This year, British Airways provided a mobile simulator and also allowed visitors into the cabins and flight deck of two of their Regional Jets (it is very rare for airlines to do this).  Other sponsors provided bungee jumping, giant trampolines, a sports track, games with a de-icer and a mobile light railway and many other activities.

As usual, the event was a huge success, both in raising money for charity as well as doing an important job in building bridges between the airport and the local residents. In other words, an event where everyone gains.

Air France/KLM are the largest airline at London City (following the integration of VLM with CityJet). What was their involvement in this?

Nothing. They neither took part, nor contributed.

We do not want this blog to be banned for strong language so we will just say that this looks “rather mean”.

Charity begins at home – maybe something you should consider when wondering whether to fly Air France/KLM.

Esoteric route watch – the third of an occasional series

Dusseldorf-Newquay is returning this summer on 20th June, but why? Germany’s economy is (surprisingly) flat-lining even more dramatically than the UK’s, and while Cornwall is a stunning destination, what could possibly cause enough interest in the Rhine valley to sustain a weekly Lufthansa CRJ-200 service to the UK’s South West? Well, according to a Lufthansa spokesman, Cornwall can thank the  popularity of the Rosamunde Pilcher novels that have been made into a drama series for German Television, filmed on location in the county.

Last year the route saw extremely good passenger numbers, with almost 10% higher load factors than the Lufthansa average, according to Karen Medweth, Newquay Airport’s head of commercial development, hence this summer’s repeat performance.

Is First Class dead?

Not according to an informative article in the New York Times earlier this week. Despite well publicised plans by British Airways, Qantas and others to reduce first-class capacity on a number of routes, other airlines, such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, are opening new airport lounges exclusively devoted to first-class passengers in both Europe and the United States. And the imminent arrival of their first A380 superjumbos is likely to lead to more opportunities for first-class indulgence.

The bottom line: first-class remains a powerful marketing asset and keeps top customers loyal, so is likely to remain a feature of airline travel beyond the current downturn.