by Simon Harley, LLA's Head of Business Development
What’s the best bit about coming to the airport? Everyone has a different answer.
Lots of kids like to watch the planes. Lots of adults enjoy the chance for some retail therapy. The new £1million executive lounge at LLA has quickly won plenty of fans since opening in January.
These are all great reasons. But to my mind, the best thing about an airport is something so obvious it is easy to overlook.
It is the reason we go to airports in the first place: to fly to exciting and new destinations.
At LLA we want our passengers to have the widest possible choice of where and when to fly. And we’ve recently made some really exciting progress.
In the last 12 months seven new airlines have begun operations from LLA.
For example, Sun Express now serves popular holiday destinations in Turkey. Vueling flies to city-break destinations like Amsterdam and Barcelona. And La Compagnie now offers a direct business class-only service to New York.
In total, LLA added 20 new routes in 2015, and our route network is growing even faster this year. We’ve so far agreed 17 new routes for 2016 and have already launched eleven, including services to places as distinct as Jersey, Lithuania, Turin and Pristina.
In fact, you can now fly from LLA to 128 different destinations. On 24 of those routes, LLA is the only London airport offering a scheduled service.
And there’s more to come. In 2014 easyJet signed a 10-year growth deal at the airport which included plans to expand their route network significantly between now and 2024. And we are talking with our other airline partners about their own growth plans.
We are also in discussions to add more new airlines and in the coming years we expect to be offering flights to destinations even further afield. We have already held talks about introducing services to Cancún, Orlando and Dubai.
At LLA, we’re really excited by all the changes happening at the airport. Our £110million transformation project will deliver a whole host of improvements that will deliver the best possible experience for passengers.
So while new shops and restaurants, improved transport access and bigger security and immigration areas are the parts of the transformation you can see, know that we are also working hard behind the scenes to improve the best bit about the airport: the destinations we fly to.