London City Airport: Small but efficient

Last week I had the pleasure of taking a flight from London’s smallest commercial airport, London City airport (IATA: LCY). The airport is conveniently located in London’s docklands, east of the financial district and can be accessed easily by Docklands Light Railway (DLR). It is even in London Transport’s zone 3, so it won’t cost you much to get there either.

So what is the catch? There of course is one – as always. The airport is small, has only one runway which is not very long (1319 m) and therefore is restricts to STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) airliners. Its operating license says, aircrafts have to be capable of a 5.5 degree or steeper approach. Plus there is a strict noise regulation in place. Therefore only small planes are predominant, particularly the BAe 146 aircraft which means the number of destinations offered are limited.

So, how does the airport terminal rate? Even though the airport is small, a lot of people are passing through on a daily basis. In 2006 2.3 Million people travelled through the City airport according to Wikipedia. Particularly on week days, the airport is at its full capacity affecting the limited space in the terminal. But its not all bad, they have recently increased seating space and anyway, with low delay rates, you can expect to be in and out of the terminal faster than you can say “delay”. In the rare occasion where you do get delayed, here are my Top-X-Things to do:

  1. Check out the 2 big bars and mingle with the business men who enjoy their evening beer
  2. Sit at the north side of the terminal and count the number of BAe 146 aircrafts taking off
  3. Guess the nationalities of the business men and women rushing to the gates
  4. Find the biggest TV screen to watch the Olympics coverage
  5. Count the number of destinations you can fly to from the departure screens

Airport Facts and Ratings

Airport Name London City Airport
Design Plane Award Plane Award Point
Shopping Plane Award Plane Award Point
Toilets Plane Award Plane Award Point
Overall Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Plane Award Point (Because of its convenient location)

Chanel No 5 Eau de Parfum, 100ml at the Duty Free Shop

Bottle of Veuve Cliquot at the Duty Free Shop £49.99 (cellar box vintage 2002)

[Picture from Flickrsome rights reserved]