Happy 30th Birthday London City Airport!

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This year London City Airport turns 30.

London City Airport has seen a lot of growth over the last three decades with a huge increase in routes and passengers. In 1987 15,000 passengers travelled to just four destinations – Paris, Plymouth (!), Brussels and Amsterdam.

In 2006 there were nearly 50 routes and 4.5 million passengers.  Going forward, a £344 million expansion will begin construction later this year.

To mark the anniversary London City Airport has released a number of pictures from their archives, including some from the personal collections of long-time employees.  Here are a few gems from the collection:

Captain Harry Ghee of Brymon Airways with a map of the area in the 1980s:


Here is how the Royal Docks looked in 1981.


London City Airport today.


Prince Charles laying (more accurately, looking at) the foundation stone in 1986


The Queen at the opening in 1987 – gosh isn’t she sweet?!


Evening Standard cartoon from 1987:


Canada Square in 1992


Present day (credit: Ben Walsh)


And after the new expansion plan is completed:


If you want to read more about City Airport today you can find my review – with a video – of the First Class Lounge in the Private Jet Centre here and my flight review with CityJet to Amsterdam here.

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  1. The only negative I have for City Airport is that the immigration queues can be very tiresome, snaking back along the corridor for 100m sometimes.

    Otherwise a great option with decent London Underground connections.

    • Really? Are you talking about the EU/EEA queue or the non-EU queue? Though I’ve never waited more than 5 minutes both before and after I got an EU citizenship. And you must never have been in a 1km queue at LHR either.

      And the tiny loungeless departure area and gate “pigpens” aren’t a negative?

      And LCY isn’t connected to the underground… except by DLR.

      • OK agree the loungeless area is a negative, but last couple of times I came through from Frankfurt, a couple of planes full were queuing up in the narrow corridor leading to the passport check desks. I didnt see any EU/Non EU split, but I may be wrong.

        Re Heathrow, the electronic gates have been working well for me and rarely more than 5 mins to get through. Not so good for the non-electronic people where there are very long queues almost always.

        • Glad the eGates at LHR are more consistent now – they were atrocious too for a while. The major delay is also when doing international to domestic connections – there’s no fast track anymore so everyone goes into one big long immigration queue, normally just for one officer. You just need a couple of non-EU/EEA passports at the front and you’ll be stuck for ages. Given how slow the queue upstairs to reclear security is I normally go landside via the main eGates and then back round – only issue is if you’re getting close for conformance then you risk not being allowed in!

      • I don’t think you can say the DLR component is a negative at all. Rather that than the piccadilly line.

  2. Xmenlongshot says:

    The Queen’s coat is definitely black and gold

  3. Pangolin says:

    Look at the pictures – from foundation stone in 1986 to official opening in 1987.
    Amazing that an airport can be built in 1 year yet they’ve spent decades debating a third runway at LHR!

    The glidepath slope at LCA is a pretty steep 5.5 degrees, due to the high buildings surrounding it, but if you think that’s hairy it was 7.5 when it opened, thanks to the shorter runway in operation at the time. Used to be the province of Dash airplanes as not much else could handle the glide slope. In fact, you can find a great video on YouTube now of a Dash approach to the current runway.

  4. Roger I says:

    Ah, memories.

    Anybody else remember London City Airways (part of bmi)? They certainly gave my Virgin Freeway account,(as was) a boost alongside Dan-Air and other lost carriers.

  5. I flew from Plymouth here back in the day. The steepest approach I can remember with a propellor plane. Cheaper and quicker than by train.

  6. Peter Taysum says:

    I like the lounge in the Gate for BA1 / BA3

    Hope that continues… I only discovered that from HfP

    Sent from TXL BA lounge, found easily thanks to the review Anika!

  7. OT

    Is there anyone else yet to receive their Avis / Iberia promotional miles yet ?

    Any advice on the best way to elicit them in the least stressful way possible ?

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yep lots of us over the past week, I didn’t chase mine they just posed on Tuesday.

      Seems there is a backlog due to the demand may be worth giving it a week

  8. Still using the posh kettle I got from my Scotair frequent flyer program. Many, many round trips on the D328s from Edinburgh to City. 10 flights = £50 House of Fraser vouchers, I think. Plus all the tablet and Glenlivet you could consume.

  9. Metatone says:

    Cityjet is stopping some services in March, inc. Paris.
    Anyone know if BA or others will start?

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