So this is your world? This is my world here.
Well good morning, it is just after 10 o’clock on a Friday morning and I’m here
at London City Airport which is about 10 miles from London’s West End, 7 miles
from the City, and three miles from Canary Wharf.
You can tell I’m here because of the planes. At Londonist we’ve come to London City
Airport to meet some of the team that help make the airport tick, and it looks a bit
they’re a pretty fun bunch. We’re going behind the scenes with Baggage, Flight Operations, Ramp Services, and we even make it up
into the Control Tower. But before all that, a quick history
So London City Airport sits in Docklands. That’s the name given to the
riverfront and former docks in east and southeast London. And at one time the
docks here were the biggest in the world, but when they closed the area became
derelict and by the 80s it was a real eyesore, eww. It was in 1981 that then
Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, formed the London
Docklands Development Corporation to redevelop the area.
That resulted in the
Docklands Light Railway, Canary Wharf and London City Airport. And it was in 1987
that this old dock, which just happened to be the right shape for a runway, had
its first commercial flight. It hasn’t been without its critics though. People
have campaigned for it to be closed, ‘Sean Berry off of the Green Party wants to
take this unique opportunity to lobby the new owners to close it down’.
about the noise, obviously. But it’s still here and since it opened the
runway has been lengthened, the DLR. Extended, and over four and a half
million passengers now travel through its doors every single year.
And because of its unique location and surroundings, the airport even has its
own Police. London City Airport has a dedicated 24/7 aviation policing resource.
We also have
another unit which is to do with something called Project Servator, which
is a new style of policing that’s being rolled out. We’ve launched it here at
City Airport. It’s specially trained officers, it’s unpredictable a policing
methods. At City Airport there’s been days where we’ve had police horses out the
front as well and we’ve got a dock around the area, so our Marine Support
Unit will will come up and patrol.
If you’re wealthy enough to be able to
travel first class or even have access to a private jet, I don’t know maybe like
these guys, the airport has its own private jet centre. It sits at the
western end of the runway just here, yeah. In charge of it is Chris Clayton. So if
you can imagine this is the mini airport within an airport, so we have exactly the
same facilities as you would have at any other airport.
So UK customs, immigration,
security, has its own lounge. We have our own front of house reception where we
check in customers, make sure the details are correct etc. Okay service. 90 Seconds.
What’s the 90 second thing? The 90 second proposition.
So the 90 second proposition is on most flights we can guarantee that customers can go
from the front, the car park, all the way through from our lounge and board their
aircraft or less, and we do the same on the reverse as well with arriving
aircraft and we bring them through. So what is it that the rich and famous actually
want? Anything from setting out some newspapers, a specific newspaper for
instance. We have one customer who always likes to have his newspaper ready on his
90 second walk through and onto his aircraft. We’ve got another customer who likes a
pack of peanuts and lemon.
For them that’s the reason why they
come here. It’s that personalised touch. They know that we recognise these small things so to speak, but which are what makes us unique. Peanuts
and a good old newspaper.
They’re simple people really. Coming up, we head out onto the runway. Meet the man looking after your bags, and get all up in the Control Towers business..