In addition to its routes to mainland Europe, British Airways’ regional subsidiary BA CityFlyer serves certain UK destinations from its base at London City Airport (LCY). These include the likes of Edinburgh and Glasgow, but, despite not flying there on a scheduled basis, its aircraft are sometimes seen at Norwich Airport (NWI).
In recent years, a key reason for the uptick in BA CityFlyer aircraft on the ground in Norwich was the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the planes into storage. Airlines typically like to store their aircraft at their bases, making bringing them back into service easier. However, with limited space on the ground at BA CityFlyer’s London City headquarters, it had to look further afield.
This resulted in the carrier storing several of its Embraer regional jets in Norwich, more than 110 miles (177 km) to the northeast of London City Airport. According to the Norwich Evening News, this began in March 2020, just before the UK entered its first full-scale lockdown. A Norwich Airport spokesperson said at the time that:
“London City Airport hasn’t got any spare space to park aircraft which would normally be in the air. We are seeing an unprecedented level of aircraft not flying, so the planes are parked up at Norwich, which isn’t that unusual.”
Maintenance and training
Today, data from ch-aviation.com suggests that there are no longer any BA CityFlyer aircraft in Norwich that are purely there for storage reasons. However, the website presently lists two of the carrier’s Embraer E190 jets as undergoing maintenance in East Anglia. They are doing so alongside several other aircraft, including, rather improbably, a Nauru Airlines Boeing 737-300 registered as VH-PNI.
The UK flag carrier’s regional subsidiary has also been known to use Norwich as a training base. Because of this, the airline’s aircraft had been seen over the Norfolk city even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, reports in the Eastern Daily Press show that such training dates back to at least 2019.
More recently, a BA CityFlyer E190 registered as G-LCYK operated five circular training flights out of Norwich on October 19th. Regarding these movements, a BA spokesperson confirmed to the Norwich Evening News that “CityFlyer often uses Norwich as a base for training. (…) There were no customers onboard.”
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Staying connected via other means
With neither British Airways nor BA CityFlyer serving Norwich on a scheduled basis, the airport’s passengers have become well acquainted with another European flag carrier and its regional subsidiary. Specifically, KLM Cityhopper operates multiple flights a day to Amsterdam Schiphol, with this hub offering a myriad of onward connections with the Dutch national airline’s mainline network.
With Norwich being located in the east of England, KLM’s flights between there and Amsterdam are the fastest of its extensive portfolio of UK services. While they typically have block times of 50 or 55 minutes, the amount of time spent airborne can be less than half an hour. Simple Flying took one of these flights as part of a connecting itinerary from Bremen last month, which you can read about here.
Did you know about BA CityFlyer’s ties to Norwich Airport? Perhaps you’ve seen its aircraft there yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Sources: ch-aviation.com, Eastern Daily Press, Norwich Evening News, Norwich Evening News
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Sean Doyle
- United Kingdom