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London City Airport Feels the Earth Move

02/07/2009

On 2 July 2009, the earth moved for London City Airport. No, really.

London City Airport’s runway designators ‘28’ and ‘10’ are the abbreviated magnetic runway headings of 280° and 100°. These headings are used to identify the direction in which the runway was being used.

As the earth slowly orbits in a circular path, the direction from a fixed object, like the airport’s runway, to magnetic north is constantly moving.

The direction of magnetic north decreases by approximately eight minutes of a degree every 12 months, therefore every seven and a half years it is altered by one degree. The amount of annual change depends on where in the world the fixed object is located.

In the UK, there is a directional change moving west which causes the runway heading to decrease. This means that the magnetic heading of the airport’s runway has moved by almost 10°since being established in 1987. Consequently last night (1/2 July) London City Airport’s runway designation was changed to 270° and 090°, abbreviated as ’27’ and ‘09’.

A team of staff and contractors worked throughout the night to change the airport’s signage and paint markings. In addition a comprehensive document change took place, whereby all official charts and reference material were amended to reflect the change.

Pilots flying into London City Airport today will notice the new markings on the runway whilst staff on the ground indeed felt the earth move under their feet.

It may be at least 50 years before the runway designation needs to change again at London City Airport. 

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@suren sorry about that, thanks for letting us know.
@suren hi there, did you tweet your flight number to @LCYFlightInfo ?
@MA_Baldwin we'll certainly pass this on for you! Hope you have a great flight this evening
View from the Air Traffic Control Tower this evening, where are you flying to tonight? #GetCloser http://t.co/irfHqloQbF
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From 1st October @cityjet will fly to Cork Airport with three daily flights, more info here http://t.co/la848rVfq0 http://t.co/Q4bCWCtM9w
@princesslubird We do have make up available in @AeliaDutyFreeUK but we can pass this on if you feel there should be more?
Old tramlines that transported cargo from factories to the ships still remain next to our runway #FunFactFriday http://t.co/Q1OrFGFBAr
@Kelvin98RBLX Morning, BA have just started a new seasonal route from LCY to both Santorini & Greece http://t.co/St5k4e4bwq
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@rainebow21 Sounds like a great morning, have a great flight!
@KudosNI Glad you had a good experience with us this morning, good luck with the hangover!
@rainebow21 Morning, double check the flight number is correct, and for a flight arriving or departing today.
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@Soumik_Datta Wow, great picture!
@JimJamGin we'll pass this on to our team. Our team will be working as fast as they can to get your bags through, appreciate your patience.
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