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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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Preparing for the final flight of the evening #FlyLCY #AirfieldWatch http://t.co/HvtJgRuucq
@LydiaHow Apologies for the delay, we have a large number of passengers coming through this evening.
RT @AirPortr_UK: Enjoy events @excellondon avoid early check in fees, queues or a day with bags in tow. We take them straight to your hotel…
We're pleased to welcome Airport Chauffeurs to LCY, providing traditional chaffeur services http://t.co/CQoKDuutvd http://t.co/Ev0LPrAp02
RT @WickerBoat: @LondonCityAir The view to the west in 1987. Very much different then!The 7.5 degree approaching Dash7s were amazing. http:…
Want the chance to win some @flybe tickets? We thought so, enter here http://t.co/iYnKD6i4g7
@WappingLee We'd love to say that it is but pretty overcast at the moment, the blue sky is pushing through though!
RT @WickerBoat: @LondonCityAir Pilots eye view of the final approach to runway 27 ..in 1935! http://t.co/cihTE7P6AA
@WickerBoat Great pic? Do you know what those buildings are?
Preparing for a busy day, are you flying from LCY today? http://t.co/ZNdQIpX0ld
Busy evening here at LCY, let us know if you're travelling through #FlyLCY http://t.co/CdGmPsGhuf
RT @Mr_B_1989: Looking down the only #runway in London @LondonCityAir #avgeek #cityskyline http://t.co/7Mf4zHamrR
T-minus 4 days until @Flybe arrive, enter our competition to win flight tickets to a destination of your choice! https://t.co/WI7JAXYRs8
@liquid_highway1 Great pictures, thanks for sharing with us!
@liquid_highway1 Oh wow, brilliant! Do you have any pics you could share?
@images_gc Here's all the info you need on getting here http://t.co/slHTfzQ4Pq
Edd the Duck once flew from LCY! #tbt :RT @WickerBoat: @LondonCityAir We also had celebrity endorsements! https://t.co/KQJzlTYmDg
@bogoroditzaDina Great! How did you find it vs DLR?
From 1988-1993 we ran a river bus service, 35 mins to central London. Did you ever travel on it? #ThrowbackThursday http://t.co/dOPufYIvNK
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