The airfield infrastructure at London City Airport has been transformed in the past three years, with the construction of a new 70,000m2 concrete deck to house the parallel taxiway and aircraft stands.
The deck was created by drilling 1,000 piles of concrete 20m below the bed of the King George V Dock - one of the most challenging and complex civil engineering and inland marine construction projects in Western Europe. The deck is equivalent to the size of 10 football pitches and its completion required the work of 45 contractors and took over 1.2 million hours. Not even the discovery of a World War II bomb in the dock bed hindered progress for long.
The parallel taxiway is now operational, maximising the potential of the airport’s runway and providing the ability to allow 45 aircraft movements per hour when demand returns. In addition, the airport now possesses eight new aircraft stands capable of accommodating the next generation of cleaner, more sustainable aircraft such as the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2-190.
Passengers will also benefit from improved facilities in the terminal, including a larger immigration facility with 10 new e-gates and a new outbound baggage facility. Once complete, this facility will be able to process 2,400 bags per hour and feature the latest security screening technology.
A digital Air Traffic Control Tower has also been constructed, with plans for it to be operational early next year - a global first for a commercial airport of this size, demonstrating the airport’s ongoing commitment to technological innovation.
London City Airport Chief Executive, Robert Sinclair, said:
The airport worked with contractors to ensure that industry-leading sustainability practices were at the heart of the three-year construction project. For the concrete deck, a controlled off-site environment for cement replacement was used, which reduced waste and saved 3,105 tonnes of carbon emissions.
"The completion of this vital new airfield infrastructure is a major milestone for the airport and will help us to return to growth, welcome new airlines and aircraft and once again connect London to the rest of the UK and to the world.
The parallel taxiway and aircraft stands are key components of how we plan to build a better and more sustainable airport in the future, providing our airlines with the potential to bring more cleaner, quieter next generation aircraft to the airport in the coming years.
The new facilities for immigration and baggage will also enhance our industry-leading passenger proposition, ensuring that London City Airport continues to provide the quickest and most convenient airport experience in London."
The project also supported enhanced biodiversity by transporting 29,000 tonnes of soil from marine piling works to Rainham Marshes, a designated local Site of Specific Scientific Interest. This was used to restore the silt lagoon and create a new habitat for bird wildlife. The use of river barges minimised noise and air pollution and equated to 1,622 lorry journeys being removed - saving 103.4 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Innovative cleaner fuel using hydrotreated vegetable oil was also deployed to power temporary generators, further reducing carbon emissions. The CADP project’s commitment to sustainable construction was recognised with the Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practice in November 2019.
The second phase of the City Airport Development Programme, including construction of the terminal extension and new east pier, were temporarily paused in summer 2020 due to the short-term impact of Covid-19. These projects remain part of the airport’s future plans, and with the foundations now in place, will be progressed as demand recovers in the UK aviation market.
Notes to Editors:
• The airport has published a new video celebrating the progress made with the City Airport Development Programme, which can be viewed here:
• Key facts about the City Airport Development Programme (CADP):
- Duration October 2017 - December 2020
- 1,249,188 total hours worked
- Main contractors: BAM Nuttall, Bechtel, Kier, Balfour Beatty, ACS, Dyer and Butler, CBS, Buckingham Group
- 45 contractors worked on site during the project
- The airfield deck of in-situ and precast concrete over the KGV dock is supported on 1,028 marine piles and 30 land-based piles
- In total, 51,200m3 of in-situ concrete was used and 5,000 precast pieces, each weighing up to 57 tonnes.
- The most environmentally friendly construction practices were deployed, with over 6,000 components of the concrete deck produced in an off-site controlled environment using cement replacement. This reduced waste and delivered savings of 3,105 tonnes of carbon emissions.
- CADP supported enhanced biodiversity by transporting 29,000 tonnes of soil from marine piling works to Rainham Marshes, a designated local Site of Specific Scientific Interest. This was used to restore the silt lagoon and create a new habitat for bird wildlife. Transport by river barge also minimised noise and air pollution and equated to 1,622 lorry journeys being removed - saving 103.4 tonnes of carbon emissions.
- Innovative cleaner fuel was used to power the temporary generators, with the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil, which helped to reduce carbon emissions by up to 90%.
- The project’s commitment to sustainable construction was recognised via the Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practice in November 2019.
- In November 2017, an expert team of divers and surveyors checked over 400 sites on the KGV dock bed, ensuring that the areas were safe of debris so that construction works could begin.
- As part of this process, a 500kg World War II bomb was found just to the south of the terminal’s east pier, leading to the temporary closure of the airport while the Royal Navy removed the bomb for safe detonation.
- Construction work was paused following the escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Contractors were back on site by mid-April and followed all health and safety protocols and social distancing guidelines.
- Covid-19 compliance on site remained above 97% between April and October 2020, with no significant safety incidents reported during this time.
- The CADP development resulted in the creation of 1,500 new jobs and a further 500 jobs were supported in the construction phase. Over half of the jobs created went to people from East London.
- A significant proportion of CADP contacts were awarded to local businesses, supporting economic development and employment in the London Borough of Newham.
- In line with our planning condition for CADP, the airport’s S106 Employment and Education contributions to the London Borough of Newham have totalled over £2m in the past three years.
- Working with contractors and partners, the airport prioritised community engagement, facilitating site visits, apprenticeships, secondments and work experience opportunities for young people and students from East London.