Its official - London has a new airport. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has included London Southend Airport in its classification of the Metropolitan Area of London - meaning the location is now officially London Southend to the rest of the world.
While the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has always classed the Essex airport as London, historically IATA has not.
This means whenever anyone from Boston to Barcelona or New York to Venice wants to fly to London, whenever they speak to their travel agent they will automatically be offered Southend as an option alongside the five other recognised London passenger airports - Gatwick, Heathrow, City, Stansted and Luton.
The result is increased options for people planning to travel to London and new opportunities for them to hear about London Southend Airport and what it has to offer, said Airport managing sirector Alastair Welch.
He added: “By offering London Southend alongside all the other London airports - especially at this key time when so many new customers are exploring ways of travelling to London for the Olympics - gives us further chances to demonstrate the great customer service and big benefits we can offer people over and above the other London airports, not only this summer, but also beyond.”
In related news, British Airways and Heathrow Airport-owner BAA have criticised funding plans for a proposed estuary airport in London.
The scheme, put forward by Lord Foster, would cost up to £33 billion to complete, with the architect arguing funding could come from a levy on flights into Heathrow.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews attacked the plan as “crazy”.
“To take an interest you have to think it is going to happen, and we do not think it is going to happen,” he told the Financial Times.
The £33 billion airport funding model is based on £8 billion taken from landing charges levied on airlines using Heathrow between 2018 and 2028.
Another £11 billion would be raised through landing charges levied at the new airport in the decade after its opening, which is proposed for 2028.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent International Airlines Group, told the FT: “The idea that airlines currently operating at Heathrow would fund the development of an airport they are not going to use, to the tune of £8 billion, is crazy.”