London City Airport Consultative Committee

Operational Improvements Programme

Details of the Airport's programme to help it deal more efficiently with permited growth in its traffic


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The Programme

- West End Improvements
- Runway Holding Point
- Apron Extension

More Information

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The Programme

The Airport's Operational Improvements Programme, unveiled late in 2000, had three elements:

West End Improvements

These improvements, completed in August 2002, included:

  • New security gatehouse
  • Rearrangements of airside access facilities
  • Remote aircraft parking
  • Construction of an operations/administration building with new facilities for corporate aviation .
  • Relocation of the boundary fence
  • Construction and relocation of a public footpath 
  • Associated hard and soft landscaping
  • Lighting and visitor vehicle parking

The re-routing of the original footpath linking Hartmann Road with the Piazza under the Connaught Crossing required an order under sections 247 and 253 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to stop-up the original footpath and for the construction of the replacement path round the new boundary of the Airport.

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Map Showing Improvements (42K)

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The new Runway 28 holding pointRunway Holding Point

This 8 million project was completed in September 2003.  It involved the construction of a 4,500m2 concrete platform built out over the King George V Dock. The support structure is made up of 120 support beams, each one weighing 25 tonnes, which sit across 53 concrete piles, each one weighing 30 tonnes, set six metres into the dock bed.

The platform allows four aircraft to taxi out on to the runway at any one time – while one aircraft positions itself for take off, the others wait in the holding area ready to move in turn to line up on the runway.  The holding point will improve handling efficiency, especially in the peak hours. It should also reduce the impact of ATC delays in that it provides space for three aircraft using Runway 28 to wait for ATC clearances without sterilising the runway for take-offs and landings by other aircraft. It can thus be expected to reduce substantially the number of "go-arounds" (aborted landings) by aircraft approaching Runway 28.  Initial experience with the new facility shows that the holding point might also be of considerable assistance in handling aircraft landing on Runway 10 – landing aircraft can wait in the holding area for following aircraft to land in turn and they can then taxi back to the terminal as a group. [Video clip of Runway Hold in use - wmv file 1.8mb]

Lauanching the new runway holding point

Commenting on the completion of the project Airport MD Richard Gooding said: “The construction of the Hold Point is an excellent move forward for the airport, increasing our capacity to five million passengers per annum (mppa), enabling London City to deliver a useful increase in the South East airport capacity over the next five to six years.

“Prior to construction of the Hold Point capacity was restricted to just 3.5 mppa. Together with the construction of the airport rail link – the Docklands Light Railway, London City was able to play its full role by maximising the use of its existing runway over the next 30 years”

The London Development Agency (LDA) facilitiated the project by granting a lease of three acres of the dock bed.

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East Apron Extension

The present apron was extended eastwards by building out over the western end of the King George V dock. This allowed for  5 extra stands for aircraft and a new connection to the runway. 

East Apron Extension works
East Apron Extension works
East Apron Extension works  
East Apron Extension - work in progress January 2008

In May 2007 the Airport announced it had placed a contract worth £19m with support services and construction company Carillion for this extension project.  The contract was for the construction of a 20,000 square metre concrete platform, supported by piles and built over the King George V Dock to the east of the existing terminal.  In addition, a sound screen will be incorporated to minimise noise impact of aircraft operations on neighbouring houses.  Construction started in June 2007 and the new stands came into service during the summer of 2008. As with the construction of the Hold Point in 2003, the main site compound was located at the old Mowlem Training Building and most of the activity was undertaken from the dock. The major construction work was also similar the previous scheme, and was carried out at weekends and overnight.

The project involved 217 concrete piles to support the new apron. Each of these is 1m in diameter and they act as a matrix to transfer the massive load of the structure, plus the aircraft to be parked on top of it, 20m to the bottom of the dock. The new apron is a matrix of 10-25 tonne concrete beams and planks - 1600 of them. They were cast west of the Connaught Bridge and then shipped to the new apron.

Rainfall on the airfield is transferred to the sewers by a system of chambers and pipes. To connect the new apron to the existing airfield system meant the installation of 0.5 km of new pipes and 10 new chambers.

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Planning Permission

Planning permission for the apron and holding point improvements was finally granted in September 2001 subject to an agreement under s.106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which focused principally on the funding of the Airport Extension of the Dockland Light Railway.   The discussions on the application included consideration of the noise arising from the construction of the new facilities and measures were agreed aimed at minimising this. 

A copy of the planning report considered by the London Borough of Newham's Planning and Licensing Committee is attached (Acrobat .pdf format - 55K).

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More Information

See the slide presentation shown to the Consultative Committee in April 2000.

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An independent Consultative Committee established by London City Airport pursuant to Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
John Adshead     Secretary: Stuart Innes

Page last modified: 17th February 2012