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London City – the floating airport

The runway at London City, bordered by the Royal Albert and King George V docks.

Yes, it’s another one of those plucky little people movers we love so much at transportdesigned; this time, it comes in the form of a floating airport.

London City Airport (LCY) is the British capital’s smallest commercial airport. Located in the Docklands area of east London, the airport consists of terminal buildings and a single 4,500ft runway. As an airport, you could probably say that it’s actually fairly unremarkable. Except that the runway appears to be floating.

Technically, the runway isn’t floating. Built on the old King George V and bordering the Royal Albert docks, the runway is almost completely surrounded by water. Its position in the heart of the Docklands, proximity to tall buildings and residential areas means that aircraft here face a very steep landing – and as such, it’s limited to allowing only a select number of aircraft types to use the runway.

In terms of design and surrounding scenery, you’d be hard-pressed to find an airport with a better all-round view. Landmarks in proximity to the airport (as can be seen in the pictures here) include the O2, ExCeL arena, Canary Wharf, Thames Barrier, Docklands, Greenwich Observatory and Emirates AirLine. This part of London, once utilitarian and primarily made up of heavy industry is now simply stunning and resplendent in its own urban manner.

East London and the Docklands in particular are undergoing huge redevelopment  – the Olympic Park and Thames crossings to name just a few parts receiving attention at the moment. The airport isn’t being left out – there are plans afoot to completely redevelop the terminal building interiors to better use the space.

If you’re looking for that perfect place to visit in London which is off the beaten tourist track – this surely has to be it. Don’t forget your camera!

Do you know of any other interesting airports? Tweet us: @transportdsn.

Image credits: London City Airport, LCY (official),  Harlekino and simonz.photoz on Flickr.

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