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London City Airport Feels the Earth Move

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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@StopCityAirport @RomfordRecorder @LJClements8 We currently have 70,000 movements per year & permission for 120,000 noise-factored movements
@HelenORahilly @flybe Glad you had a great trip!
@StopCityAirport @RomfordRecorder @LJClements8 To clarify, 45 movements an hour is incorrect, when airport is at absolute capacity it's 38.
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RT @SkyNewsWeather: London City Airport is reporting 20C, beating the Halloween record of 19.4 from Kent in 1968.
@Dayvesbird Be sure to let us know when you're coming through!
@Dayvesbird We sure do, take a look at flight bookings here http://t.co/5TI2sha3j1
@Mr_B_1989 Welcome back, glad you had a good trip!
Take a look at our video guide to Amsterdam, Heineken experience anyone? http://t.co/Q7KEh7jMwk
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@pia6 For the latest info on your flight please contact your airline http://t.co/AvhFR0TDE6
@Kaweechelchen Flights have been affected due to low visibility, for more info on your flight please contact airline http://t.co/AvhFR0TDE6
@OJBolton Please get in touch with your airline for more info on your flight http://t.co/AvhFR0TDE6
@tonpx Great pics, thanks for sharing!
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