Queen Elizabeth II officially opened London City Airport in November 1987 and it has become recognised as one of Europe's leading airports for business travel.
Over 1.6 million passengers use the airport annually and its management believes that economic development nearby will sustain a potential for over five million passengers per annum. Domestic routes to Manchester, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man complement international services.
It is unusual to the extent that, from the opening day, stringent rules were imposed on the noise impact acceptable from each aircraft departure. This, together with the physical dimensions of the runway, limits the range of aircraft types that are acceptable to the airport and planning authorities. Nevertheless it has become a useful adjunct to London's larger airports, particularly for workers frequenting Docklands ,and has met its operating costs in recent years. It is an important element in the Newham labour market and, together with the nearby ExCeL centre, has stimulated a local surge of hotel building.
Typical mid-range airliners seen here include the ATR42, Bombardier Dash Eight, BAe146 Whisperjet, Dornier 328, Fokker 50 and Saab 2000. Corporate aircraft such as the Beechcraft Super King Air, Cessna Citation and variants of the Dassault Falcon bizjet are increasingly common, but larger or noisier types are not acceptable. Helicopters are also denied access for environmental reasons. The earliest scheduled flights were operated by Bombardier Dash Sevens and Dornier 228 aircraft with Paris, Amsterdam and Rotterdam being the initial destinations. The size of the airport, constrained by water-filled docks to the north and south, means that there are no covered maintenance facilities for aircraft. Passengers are likely to perceive the compact terminal as a benefit.
Passenger access to the City of London is being facilitated by the building of an extra spur of the Docklands Light Railway from Canning Town. This will reduce passengers' dependence on cars and taxis, again with environmental gains. In the meantime, frequent shuttle coaches operate to Canning Town, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street station with cheaper slower buses provided by Transport for London to Walthamstow, Plaistow, Canning Town and Stratford Stations. Onward tube connections are available from all these places. One TfL-contracted bus route heads east from the terminal to meet the Woolwich Ferry that can take passengers across to the southern bank of the River Thames.
The following airlines fly to London City Airport: