This year will mark the 30th anniversary of London City Airport, and they have released 30 pictures and archive material some of which involve members of the Royal family, quite apt for an airport which was constructed on the former site of London’s Royal Docks. One of the first members of the Royal Family to visit was Prince Charles who laid the foundation stone on 29 May 1986. From there it took just 18 months for John Mowlem & Co to construct the airport ready for an opening by Her Majesty The Queen on 5 November 1987.
Operations at the airport continued to expand, and a decision was taken to extend the runway, and on 5 March 1992, the late Diana, Princess of Wales officially opened the extended runway. When looking through the archives for this anniversary, a souvenir booklet was found from the tenth anniversary, and it is evident from the comments the airport was popular at Buckingham Palace. In a foreword from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, he wrote: “The Queen opened London City Airport 10 years ago and I can only imagine that the developers must have held their breath as they waited to see whether this somewhat unconventional airport was going to be a success. I think it was a brilliant idea, but then I found it to be wonderfully convenient. I once made it in 19 minutes from Buckingham Palace.”
The airport has not stood still during that period, as some of the royal visits testify, and as Declan Collier, London City Airport’s CEO comments “I look forward with anticipation to the next chapter, which includes a £344 million development, construction of which will begin later this anniversary year.” This development will include a parallel taxiway, seven new aircraft stands and an extended passenger terminal. These works are due to be completed by 2025 and will be up and running in time for the 40th anniversary.
The airport is already one of the largest employers in the London Borough of Newham, and it looks to be heading further in a positive direction. In the first month of operation, the airport served just over 8000 passengers with flights to and from Paris, Plymouth, Brussels and Amsterdam. This figure has risen to 4.5 million passengers in 2016 going to and from 50 destinations, a record that it looks like the airport will beat soon.