London City’s vision, 30 years in the making
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Thirty years ago, an area of derelict dockland close to the center of London was transformed and opened as the city's newest airport, with hopes of developing passenger services where only certain aircraft could land at the restrictive location.
The airport opened to passengers Oct. 26, 1987, when a de Havilland Dash 7 landed with 40 passengers on a flight from Plymouth, closely followed by a flight from Brussels. Since then, some 55.5 million passengers have flown through London City Airport, which over the years has grown to fill the site and extend its runway to handle larger aircraft.
Marking the 30th anniversary of the airport, a week of celebrations is being held with special events, competitions and archive footage showing how the site has changed from its days as a seaport to international airport.
The airport has also used the milestone as an opportunity to unveil the London City of the future, with artists' impressions of the work being carried out to expand and upgrade the airport, starting next year.
Work was given the go-ahead in July 2016 to extend the airport's terminal, parking areas and infrastructure to enable to it to handle more aircraft movements and passengers, meeting demand which has been steadily increasing.
The £400m City Airport Development Programme (CADP) will add 40,000 square meters to the existing terminal building, incorporating a futuristic new frontage and extended gate and departure lounge area, with a relocated and enlarged passenger drop off area and bus station.
Airside will see the addition of an extra seven aircraft parking stands built over what is currently open water of the former dock. Finally, to facilitate a greater hourly rate of aircraft movements, a parallel taxiway will be built to the eastern end of the runway. At present, aircraft need to taxi along the runway when departing to the west, slowing up movements significantly.
Officials also hope to add the airport to the new Crossrail network on the new route at Silvertown, thus adding an important connectivity option to the city and greater transport network.
The privately funded work is being undertaken following the sale of London City airport in 2016 and the removal of a block put on development by the previous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Current Mayor Sadiq Khan has hailed the creation of up to 2,000 new staff and construction jobs as a significant reason to allow the development.
"The City Airport Development Programme presents the opportunity to create an airport of the future, which will help meet demand in the London market, and increase connectivity," said Declan Collier, chief executive of London City Airport.
With London City now serving 55 destinations and the need to respond to a new post-Brexit era, the airport is hoping to see an additional 30,000 flights per year following the works, which are due to begin next year and complete in 2025.
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