London City airport, which largely serves business travellers, is to shut down this evening and not re-open until May at the earliest. The airport in the capital’s docklands experienced its busiest-ever year in 2019, and expected record numbers of passengers this year – with an average of more than 16,000 travellers per day.

An airport statement said: “We have made the decision to temporarily suspend all commercial and private flights from the airport.

“At this point in this fast-moving and unprecedented situation, we think this is the responsible thing to do for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, passengers and everyone associated with the airport.

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“This will begin in the evening on Wednesday 25 March and is expected to last until the end of April. We will keep this under review.”

The airport’s main operator is British Airways’ CityFlyer subsidiary, which has about two dozen routes.

The airport’s flagship route was BA1 and BA2, which connected London’s financial centre with New York JFK aboard a business-class only Airbus A318. This route may not return.

Flybe was previously a significant competitor, but the airline collapsed in February 2020.

Alitalia, KLM, Lufthansa, Luxair and Swiss are also important operators.

Airlines are experiencing an unprecedented slump in passenger numbers as the world goes into lockdown.

Manchester airport today closed operations in terminals 2 and 3, and consolidated all flights in terminal 1.

Gatwick has shut three of its six piers.

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