In the last couple of days, London Southend Airport has launched its largest Winter season schedule in 4 years as the airport continues its growth out of the pandemic.
Sunday 29 October saw the launch of 2 new routes to Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Alicante (ALC), as well as some of the final flights to Southend’s Summer seasonal destinations.
All in all, the airport had 7 departures, marking the largest scheduled flying day for the airport since Summer 2021, with 1 flight each to Malaga, Palma De Mallorca, Faro, Alicante, Paris and 2 flights headed to Amsterdam.
The launch of the highly requested Alicante route and Paris flight was documented live on London Southend Airport’s Facebook, courtesy of SDTV Live, who filmed all the action from atop the Air Traffic Control Tower.
Down in the Terminal, morale and excitement was high, with the airport hiring a DJ to liven the mood, light bites and alcoholic drinks being handed around to passengers, and staff taking on a French and Spanish theme with their attire.
An overview of Southend’s 2023/2024 Winter Schedule
Over the course the Summer season this year, Southend Airport has been busy working with its airline partner EasyJet Europe to secure as many winter routes as possible, with the airport managing to yield 5 routes for this winter.
The routes are as follows:
- Alicante: 4x weekly running on Thursdays and Sundays (Was announced as a year round route)
- Paris CDG: 4x weekly running on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun (Also announced as year round)
- Amsterdam: 4x weekly running on Mon, Thur, Fri and Sun (Initially summer seasonal, upgraded to year round)
- Geneva: launching December 16th, to run 3x weekly on Wednesdays and 2 flights on Saturdays
- Grenoble: Launching January 14th to run once weekly on Sundays.
At the peak of the winter season between mid-January and the end of February, Southend will offer 16 flights a week, down 2 from the summer season which hit 18 flights a week.
Overall, London’s 6th airport has done very well in securing its first full winter season schedule in 4 years, passengers and locals, have expressed extreme happiness and positivity for the airport as it slowly but surely builds up its presence again.
Why has Southend’s recovery fallen behind?
London Southend was really quite shining in the years before covid, with 2019 seeing over 40 destinations to fly to, a generous selection of airlines to choose from and a clear future, which saw it looking to challenge Luton in terms of yearly passenger numbers.
In 2019, the airport processed just over 2 million travellers, this success was brutally crushed following the Covid-19 pandemic which slashed yearly passenger numbers to just 400,000 for 2020.
Due to the effects of Covid-19 on air travel, it forced major consolidation of airlines to use their larger hubs at other London Airports, with easyJet and Ryanair closing their bases in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Furthermore, other airlines that serviced the airport also terminated their routes with a view to capture demand at other London airports, including, Wizz Air, Loganair, Wideroe, Flybe and more.
To put simply, Southend was effectively seen as not needed for the foreseeable future as airlines turned their heads to their more established bases where the passenger demand lied.
So what does Southend need to return to its pre pandemic highs? Well it mostly relies on London Airport slot availability, once other London airports are tight for space and metaphorically cant take anymore, airlines looking for growth in the London area will simply be forced to look in the direction of Southend.
How long that will take is unknown, but with easyJet ramping up its operations to the airport it seems the need for London’s 6th airport is coming back and it will only be a matter of time before other airlines start to turn their heads at SEN.
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