London City Airport invests £12m in an upgraded departure lounge

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London City Airport is investing £12m (US$13.6m) in refurbishing its departures area – adding more seating, two dining areas, duty-free expansion, retail space, more washrooms and a new look throughout the departure lounge.

The airport is embarking on the upgrade program with SSP, Lagardère Travel Retail and WHSmith, with the refurbishment set to be completed by the summer of 2023. The project will increase seating by 30% (950 in total), with the creation of a new area in front of a new 200m² WHSmith store in autumn 2022, which will also include an expanded London product range, and a one-stop-shop solution with books, magazines, health and beauty products, souvenirs, digital accessories, plus food and drink options.

Lagardère Travel Retail will launch an Aelia Duty Free Store including an ‘It’s London’ boutique with seasonal products from local producers and distilleries. Brands such as Creed and Aesop will also serve a range of refreshments from locally crafted beers to an expanded range of champagne, which will sit in a ‘Champagne Cave’.

The airport’s City Bar & Grill restaurant will be replaced by the Juniper restaurant in spring 2023, which will feature a new bar area, full-service kitchen, plus an overall increase of 80 covers. In addition, the airport’s Cabin Bar will be replaced with an SSP restaurant brand offering a new menu and an overall increase of 20 covers. A new eatery named Soul & Grain has already opened, increasing the range of vegan and vegetarian options available to passengers.

The refurbishment will be carried out in phases with new food and beverage and retail units opening before old ones close, to create a smooth transition for passengers using the airport. 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% of the waste produced by construction diverted from landfill and recycled. Partners will also support the airport’s ambitions to eliminate all single-use plastics, become a zero-waste airport and be a London Living Wage Zone.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said, “While 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 and 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 of 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 traveling 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, managing director of Lagardère Travel Retail, UK and 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 bring the best of London to the airport.”

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