London City Airport inspires 200 East London teenagers to consider future STEM careers ahead of its £430 million development programme

  • London City Airport’s ‘STEM in Aviation Day’ at ExCeL London today (Friday 10 November) brings together some of the best innovators in the sector to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers to 210 East London secondary students
  • City Airport Development Programme (CADP) delivery partner, Bechtel, gave students hands-on use of the latest innovations in construction management – from virtual reality to 3D object scanning
  • Experts from NATS demonstrated the UK’s first digital air traffic control tower and Accenture’s Innovation Hub revealed how wearables, virtual assistants and AI will aid the future STEM workforce, and how facial recognition technology can be used in airports

London City Airport is encouraging the next generation of skilled STEM workers today (Friday 10 November), as it hosts over 200 secondary students at its second annual STEM in Aviation Day.

Fifteen schools from 6 East London boroughs are participating in the event at ExCeL London, learning from industry volunteers about the application of STEM subjects in aviation.

NATS, Bechtel and Accenture’s Innovation Hub offered hands-on demonstrations of the latest innovations to solve business challenges, showing the breadth of opportunity within the sector.

The application of STEM will feature heavily in the airport’s own City Airport Development Programme (CADP), which will create over 2,000 jobs including 500 during the construction phase, many of which will go to local residents in Newham and nearby boroughs.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at London City Airport, said: “STEM in Aviation Day demonstrates to secondary students how attractive and exciting this career path can be, with a rare opportunity to see and experience these innovations first-hand.

“With construction due to begin in early 2018 on the airport’s £430 million development programme, we know how important events like this are to reduce the skills gap, inspire the next generation, and create real socio-economic benefits for the local area.”

Stephen Timms MP for East Ham said: “I am delighted to attend the STEM Aviation day and would like to thank London City Airport for taking the trouble in putting together such an exciting day for students drawn from in and around Newham.

“We have very talented young people in East London East Ham and it has been wonderful to see how much they have learnt today. I hope many of the students here today will now consider careers in STEM. This will put them in a good place to take advantage of the opportunities which will arise as London continues to move East.”

The participating companies in the event include:


Bechtel, which in June 2017 was awarded the Delivery Partner role to manage CADP, helped students learn about the role that STEM will play during the expansion project.

For example, virtual reality headsets allowed students to physically walk around a virtual representation of the baggage hall and terminal – illustrating what it will look like during construction. Students were able to scan a small object, such as a model aircraft, using a tablet device, and place it in a virtual model of the airport to see how it fits into the environment - without having to visit the airport. These technologies are being used now by Bechtel to help designers, contactors and stakeholders align their visions for how the upgraded airport will look and operate.


NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, explained more about its digital air traffic control system, which will be operational at London City Airport from 2019. The digital solution will eventually replace the airport’s existing tower with fourteen state-of-the-art HD cameras offering a panoramic view of the airfield, modernising and improving air traffic management. Images and data will be sent via super-fast and secure fibre optic connections to NATS’ air traffic control centre in Hampshire, where air traffic controllers will continue to fulfil their existing role, using a live HD feed offering a 360 degree view.

The system will be the first of its kind in the UK, and NATS explained at the event how the state-of-the-art technology, developed with Saab Technologies, will work, and what it means for the airport, with additional insight into how STEM subjects are being utilized in other areas of NATS operations.

Accenture Innovation Hub

Accenture Innovation Hub shared how they use new technologies to optimise processes in the aviation industry. Students were introduced to how smart wearable devices and intelligent sensors can support staff when working at a distance, providing them with timely, relevant and rich media to assist them in their work. The Innovation Programme is an incubator exploring new technologies to solve real-world problems, from supporting task execution to over-the-shoulder coaching, with the integration of virtual assistants and Artificial Intelligence.

London City Airport

London City Airport’s commercial team introduced students to the City Airport Development Programme (CADP) and explained how the team makes commercial decisions to determine which business will utilise a certain concession space in the new terminal. Students were challenged to calculate revenue and create a proposal for businesses which should occupy the new spaces.

The day will culminate in a student challenge to develop an app, to improve the passenger experience at the airport. The judging panel comprises experts from London City Airport and the East London Business Alliance, with the winning group receiving a flight simulation at the Emirates Aviation Experience and an airside tour of London City Airport.