As it prepares to
celebrate its 30th anniversary year, London City
Airport has published a collection of photographs
marking significant milestones in its history.
The photographs -
some previously unseen - are from the Airport's
archive and the personal collections of longstanding
staff members, including Vic Abbott, a NATS air
traffic engineer who has been at the airport since
it opened and documented its early days.
selection includes fascinating shots of Prince
Charles laying the foundation stone in 1986, the
opening by The Queen in 1987, and the completed
airport during the late eighties and early nineties,
as well as the former site in London’s Royal Docks,
which was transformed during the mid-eighties to
become the home of the international airport.
CEO of London City Airport, said: “2017 is going to
be a significant year for London City Airport, as we
prepare to reach the tremendous 30th anniversary
milestone in the autumn. Since the airport opened in
1987 it has undergone a remarkable evolution,
continuing to attract primarily business travellers
thanks to our close proximity to central London and
a customer experience defined by speedy check-in and
30 years we’ve enabled nearly 53 million passenger
journeys, remained the only London airport actually
in London, and become one of the largest employers
in the London Borough of Newham. I look forward with
anticipation to the next chapter, which includes a
£344 million development, construction for which
begins later this anniversary year.”
flights into London City.
Image © Ben Walsh.
Airport initially operated routes to Paris,
Plymouth, Brussels and Amsterdam, welcoming 8,235
passengers in its first full month of operation.
Today the airport serves nearly 50 destinations and
in 2016 welcomed a record-breaking 4.5 million
passengers over the course of the year.
The concept for an
airport in London’s Docklands was conceived in 1981
by Reg Ward, the London Docklands Development
Corporation (LDDC) Chief Executive and Sir Philip
Beck, Chairman of John Mowlem & Co plc, the major
construction company, and took just 18 months to
construct between spring 1986 and October 1987.
published include the test flight landing of a De
Haviland Dash-7 aircraft on the derelict Heron Quay
(now part of the Canary Wharf development) in June
1982, which helped prove the premise for an airport
in London’s Docklands.
particularly striking shot from 1992 by Vic Abbott,
a British Aerospace 146 aircraft is seen approaching
London City Airport from the west, with One Canada
Square in Canary Wharf - then the tallest building
in the UK - completely isolated with none of today’s
recognisable London buildings on the skyline. The
airport’s 30th anniversary year will crescendo
towards celebrations of the official milestone in
As part of
preparations for the 2017 anniversary, a special
pamphlet from the 10th anniversary in 1997 was
rediscovered which demonstrated the airport had
royal approval. In a foreword from HRH Prince
Philip, 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.”
anniversary year in 2017 will also see the start of
the £344 million City Airport Development Programme,
comprising 7 new aircraft stands, a parallel taxiway
and an extended passenger terminal, with completion
expected by 2025. A commemorative 30th anniversary
book is also being written by Malcolm Ginsberg, to
be published later in the year.
Click on the thumbnails
below to view a selection of the photos: