London City Airport (LCY) has hit out at IATA's decision to allow Southend Airport in Essex to call itself London Southend, stating "what's next, London Basingstoke?"
LCY claims that giving Southend free rein to call itself ‘London’ Southend despite being over 45 miles and nearly an hour’s train ride from the capital, paves the way for confusion and dissatisfaction amongst inbound and outbound passengers.
It states that the decision is the latest in an increasingly bizarre list of naming decisions, including ‘London Stansted’, ‘London Luton’ and’ London Oxford’.
Commenting on the IATA decision, Matthew Hall, chief commercial officer of London City Airport, suggested that the actual number of airports entitled to call themselves ‘London’ airports is one.
“London City Airport is the only airport with a London postcode – the only London airport in London, in point of fact.
"We’re three miles from the Olympic Park – which is why we’re seeing elite athletes taking the easy route in via LCY.
"And you don’t need to be an Olympian to get to London fast via LCY – from wheels down on the tarmac to surface transport takes just 10 minutes, plus we’re only three miles from Canary Wharf, 22 minutes to the City and 35 minutes to the West End via direct train station within our terminal building.
“Giving the ‘London’ designation to an airport which is nearly an hour away by train is faintly ridiculous and extremely misleading. You have to feel for the visitor who expects to land in London and ends up in a field on the east coast.
“Why this particular affliction has been allowed to spread within the airport sector is baffling when other sectors have adopted a far more sensible approach. For example ‘London Zoo’ – is, refreshingly, in London; ‘London Bridge’, again, is in London (apart from the one the Americans bought; as is the ‘London Eye’. You don’t find the London Underground in Swindon.....it’s in London of course.
“The time has come where industry organisations and suppliers need to become more honest with the travelling public – our customers.
"Unfortunately, if we continue like this, it can only be a matter of time before we see the announcement of London Birmingham, London Liverpool and London Edinburgh."