Belfast Telegraph

London City Airport confident of making capital from Brexit

By Staff Reporters

London's financial services sector "will not collapse" because of Brexit, according to an airport boss in the capital.

The City's role as a financial hub may receive a "dent" from Brexit, but Declan Collier, chief executive of London City Airport, said he believed the number of financial services workers using the airport will continue to grow over the next couple of years despite Brexit uncertainty.

Last week HSBC boss Stuart Gulliver said the bank was on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London business to Paris after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the UK will scrap its single market membership after Brexit.

London's financial firms have been waiting to discover whether the UK can hold on to passporting rights, which allow them to trade freely across Europe after Brexit.

Without access to a passport, UK-based banks face a significant barrier when attempting to trade with countries within the European single market.

Flybe has operated four daily flights from George Best Belfast City Airport to London City since December 2014.

British Airways also operates flights from Dublin Airport to London City, while CityJet also flies to Dublin.

Mr Collier was speaking about a planned expansion of the airport, which will cost up to £344m and will allow it to boost its capacity to 6.5 million passengers by 2025.

The former head of Dublin Airport Authority said he would like to see services operating between the airport and Cork and Shannon, but added it was "difficult getting an airline comfortable enough to get over the initial hump".

He also lamented the loss of CityJet's Cork to London City route, which was discontinued last year.

The airport will also build a new digital control tower that will depend solely on automated air traffic control.

"The days of big, iconic towers at airports are behind us," Mr Collier said.

Meanwhile, Bombardier Aerospace this week announced it had won a deal up to $467m (£373m) to sell 10 regional jets to CityJet. The airline has signed a conditional agreement for six CRJ900 aircraft with an option for four more.

The conditional offer is worth around $280m (£224m), but could be worth up to $467m if CityJet exercises all its options. Belfast staff of Bombardier work on the design and manufacture of the centre fuselage and nacelles for the CRJ regional jets.

CityJet is based in Swords and was set up in 1993 to operate between Dublin and London City Airport. Now it operates 10 routes from across Europe to London City of the slots.

Elsewhere, JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said earlier this month that any British job losses as a result of Brexit would take place over a "period of years" as the US bank prepares for a new regulatory landscape.

The lender employs 16,000 people in the UK, with London hosting its European headquarters and has previously said about 4,000 jobs could go if Britain loses the right to sell financial services to the EU.

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