A mere 18 years after it opened, London’s fourth airport, and the only one that is actually really close to the city itself, is poised to be served by a rail link.
From 15 December, the over ground Docklands Light Railway will extend to London City Airport. This will mean travellers to the airport, which is just 10km from the UK capital’s business district, will no longer have to take that final irritating bus shuttle from nearby rail stations to arrive at the terminal.
London City Airport was the perfect example of a airport project that completely ignored joined-up thinking when it came to inter-modality. This journalist remembers the opening day of the airport, when airlines like Brymon Airways with de Havilland Dash 7 short take-off and landing aircraft were the pioneers. Getting there was a nightmare. There actually were not any proper public transport links.
Here was a terrific little airport, marooned in the east end of London. Those early years were tough. But now London City is thriving. It handled nearly 1.7 million passengers last year and is growing fast. How fast would it have grown if that rail link had been in place two decades ago?