"From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction - you must stay at home." - It's been a year now since we heard our Prime Minister share these unprecedented instructions. Whilst many of us thought this would be a short-term request, very few anticipated that 365 days later, we would start to welcome the other side of this pandemic.
We have certainly missed seeing all our usual passengers, and look forward to the day that flying is freely available to all. In the meantime, we are looking back at the year, so you can see how we have been keeping busy during the challenging times.
Working around COVID-19
Cleanliness is one of our top priorities; we are delighted to have been recognised by the Airports Council International (ACI) Health Accreditation programme, for providing a safe experience for all travellers. Here are just some of the measures we introduced in the past year to make flying safe and enjoyable to those who need it.
We have introduced further measures to ensure cleanliness is at the forefront of operations, and have been working hard on finding new and innovative ways to ensure the terminal remains a safe place to begin your travels. Water-based antibacterial misters have been introduced at frequent touchpoints, including luggage trolleys, security trays and toilet facilities. Alongside this, UV robotic cleaning has been introduced across the terminal whilst washrooms attendants are on-hand to ensure utmost cleanliness is adhered to.
Whilst our dining outlets remained closed in Spring/Summer 2020, due to government restrictions on indoor dining, we converted our Yorkshire Lounge into a takeaway cafe. This quick adaption allowed passengers to enjoy tasty treats before boarding their plane, where dining was also restricted. Although Flight Bites is now closed, in its place we look forward to re-opening our fully refurbished Yorkshire Lounge.
To ensure the safety of passengers entering Leeds Bradford Airport, a preparation zone was built to the terminal front in Spring 2021. This allowed customer ambassadors to welcome passengers, run through the new operations and layout of the terminal, and answer any questions. This also gave the opportunity to ensure all passengers are wearing their face coverings and using the hand-sanitiser provided throughout the terminal. The temporary structure which housed the previous preparation zone has since been removed; however, we maintain the same process in the terminal entrance.
In February 2021, we partnered with NPH Group to provide quick and easy testing for passengers and the local community. Based at Viking Airport Car Park, the testing is perfect for passengers wanting a Fit to Fly certificate and those wishing to use the service as part of the Test to Release scheme.
For passengers departing to The Netherlands, a Rapid Antigen test will soon be available to book in-line with KLM re-commencing flights to Amsterdam.
Business as usual
We have a few traditions here at LBA which have withstood the test of time - and many departments have continued to operate (somewhat) despite COVID-19. These include our all-important PRM (passengers with restricted movement) team, who are still on-hand to assist passengers with reduced mobility around the terminal and onto aircraft. Our security teams have also played a vital role to ensure everyone who enters the terminal has a requirement to be there, and of course, the Air Traffic Control team keep their eyes to the skies ensuring safe travel to those who need it.
Earlier in the year we welcomed a flurry of snow and whilst it looked serene, the LBA team were quick to get it cleared off the runway... the more things change, the more they stay the same!
Inspiring future travel
Just because international adventures are off the cards for now, this doesn't mean the appetite for travel has reduced! Here's how we have aimed to inspire our followers, look back on fond memories, and look forward to future travels.
Stay at home
Families quickly exhausted many of their usual at-home activities, so we were on-hand to provide international inspiration. Recipes, films and family fun offer the opportunity to explore the world from the comfort of home - take a look below to find out more.
Share holiday memories
Whilst there's little more exciting than thinking about our future adventures, there is something to be said about reminiscing fond memories of the past. We have been encouraging our followers to share their own memories and travels using the #YorkshiresAirport, and shared our favourites on our own channels every #CheckInTuesday.
When travel re-opens to all, we know lots of people will be thinking of exactly where to enjoy their next adventure. For this reason, we worked behind the scenes to create an Instagram filter. Using the magical (and very scientific) powers of fate, it will tell our followers exactly where their next adventure from Leeds Bradford Airport should be!
Despite a challenging year, we have kept charity at the forefront of our minds. Here's how we have continued to support our local, industry and national charities - sometimes in even more creative ways.
We have continually kept our commitment to helping local charities. During the early weeks of the pandemic, we saw an excess of food in our outlets and lounges. Therefore, we donated everything no longer required to local food banks and shelters, many of which were low in stock due to the sudden demand for food shopping throughout the UK.
Martin House Hospice, based in Wetherby, has been one of our supported charities for many years. In September 2020, we donated almost £10,000 to their important work and look for further opportunities to continue our support.
Whilst many of us were able to fully comply with the stay at home instructions, key workers throughout the country had to continue their routines. We wanted to give a special thanks to these people, so during April, we invited our followers to nominate a key worker who they believed was going the extra mile. From the nominations, a random winner was selected for a VIP experience during their next LBA departure; including access to our lounge, premium parking and Fast Track.
On our feet
Our team have taken to their feet to show support for local and industry-related charities. In May 2020, we challenged the entire LBA team to a virtual runway relay in celebration of Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday. The team far exceeded our target of 200 virtual runway-lengths (450km), and by the end, over 2,600km had been walked, ran and cycled! For staff on-site, it was an even more exciting event, as fewer aircraft made it possible for many to take to the actual runway for a socially-distanced walk. The team raised almost £5,000, which was matched by the airport to a total of £10,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Later in the year, Aviation Action began a campaign to run 31 UK and European runways in 31 days, including Leeds Bradford Airport. The LBA team joined together to run the runway once again, this time supporting a charity that provides mental health and support specifically for the UK aviation industry.
The grounding of aircraft and reduction of passengers has created a time for the team to reflect and improve our offering here at LBA. Here are just some of the improvements undertaken to ensure passengers have a smooth onward journey during their next visit.
In Spring 2020, the team were able to get out on the runway and re-line the paint. This is something often unseen by passengers, but we hope pilots will notice the new clean lines during their next landing. Almost 2,500 litres of paint were used during this process, and luckily the weather was on our side!
In the terminal
Almost £60,000 has been spent upgrading all the passenger washrooms throughout the terminal. These works were planned before the pandemic, and since opening the upgraded facilities, the feedback has been great. Washroom attendants are on-hand during departures to ensure the new facilities are kept like-new.
The Yorkshire Lounge
The Yorkshire Lounge has been transformed; with new lighting, furniture and food offerings, the space has become a cosy and characterful area to relax and enjoy your next departure. Staff and passengers are delighted with the change, and we can't wait to open the doors once again and introduce the changes during your next visit.
Jet2.com baggage belt
Eagle-eyed passengers flying with Jet2.com & Jet2holidays will notice the check-in desk area has been enhanced with passengers in mind. Something you may not notice is that the baggage belt behind the scenes has been vastly improved to ensure your cases get from check-in to plane as efficiently and quickly as possible.
One of the first projects completed during the lockdown, our security lanes have been improved to become more open and organised. Passengers travelling for essential reasons have welcomed the lighter, much-improved space, and we can't wait to see it in full flow with holidaymakers too.
The bigger picture
Whilst our focus has been on the present, we can't help but cast a wandering eye the what the future holds and what may lie ahead for Yorkshire's Airport. When travel does return, we will be ready with a host of brand-new destinations for our passengers. Whether you want a stay-cation on the UK's southern coast or an exciting adventure on a Greek island... we offer it all! Our new routes include Skiathos, Santorini, Newquay, Belfast, Vilnius and the just-added winter ski destination of Chambéry.
Just over a year ago, we unveiled our plans for a brand-new, state-of-the-art replacement terminal building. Whilst the immediate future looks a lot different than we planned, the approval of our planning application by Leeds City Council is fantastic news for the region.
We hope this blog helps you see some of the things we have been up to during a turbulent year. Use the buttons below to share on your own channels, and take a look at our social media channels to stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings at #YorkshiresAirport.