In Pictures: 30 Years of London City Airport

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 87 months ago

Last Updated 11 January 2017

In Pictures: 30 Years of London City Airport

In 1987 a new airport graced London, one that was categorically different than its competitors. It was aimed primarily at passengers looking for quick access to the financial district in the City. It was also part of a wider scheme to revive east London, which wasn't quite as trendy as it is today.

On its 30th anniversary, City Airport released these photos from its past. Some are from its archive, others are never before seen photos taken from the collections of long-standing staff.

The photos document the area in the Docklands before it became an airport. Here's a flight test in the area in 1982:

This was undertaken by Captain Harry Gee, to see whether the industrialised — but in dire need of regeneration — Docklands would be suitable for an airport.

Captain Harry Gee showing his flight path

Prince Charles was on hand when the foundations for the airport were laid in 1986.

The first commercial passenger flight was again flown by Harry Gee from Paris to London, as shown on this mail commemorating it.

The airport retained its royal connection when it was opened by the Queen in 1987.

An airport so close to central London was heavily satirised in this cartoon from The Evening Standard.

The (then) modern — and importantly, spacious — check-in area. If you want to learn more about what City Airport was like for those early passengers, take a look at this (rather dated) advert.

Some very recognisable corgis grace City Airport (hope they've got pet passports).

The airport and surrounding area have, of course, moved with the times.

Photo: Ben Walsh

Flight paths paint a vivid landscape on the nighttime sky, in this lengthy exposure picture:

Photo: Ben Walsh

And here's a glimpse at the future of City Airport, in a mock-up of its redevelopment pictured below. It's going to cost £344m, and should be finished by 2025: