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City Airport takes the strain from the Eurostar train

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:12 05 October 2010

PASSENGERS heading to the Continent on Eurostar who've been hit by today's national rail strike in Belgium have been turning to the air instead. Bookings have shot up at London City Airport by up to 90 per cent on one airline

By Mike Brooke

PASSENGERS heading to the Continent on Eurostar who've been hit by today's national rail strike in Belgium have been turning to the air instead.

Bookings have shot up at London City Airport with business travellers from Canary Wharf and the City trying to avoid getting caught in the 24-hour industrial action.

One airline based in East London, CityJet, has had a 90 per cent rise in bookings with worried passengers searching for an alternative to the Channel Tunnel, it reported last night. Reservations in the past few days on the London City-to-Antwerp air route almost doubled.

"Our call centre has been remarkably busy in the past few days," said the airline's boss Geoffrey O'Byrne. "Many people have also booked online or with travel agents because we've offered a fast alternative to the train."

London City is the closest airport to Eurostar's London St Pancras terminal and just 14 minutes from Canary Wharf and 22 minutes from Bank on the DLR.

Only trains to Brussels has been hit by today's strike. Eurostar's St Pancras-to-Paris run is unaffected.

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