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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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CFO Patrick Burrows will be joining @londonchamber #LondonTomorrow panel alongside @EY_UKI discussing the future of business in the capital
Are you flying from LCY this week? We want to see your take off and landing pics #FlyLCY http://t.co/YCzsH2NBTE
RT @aabboud: what a stunning rise at London City airport this morning. http://t.co/kLGHyp2De0
@macfraser54 Please email our team with the details and we can look into this for you Online@lcy.co.uk
@CraigLeGrice thanks, we've passed this on to the team for you.
@CraigLeGrice we'll pass this on, can your tell us which screen it's coming from?
@omcmanus your feedback is always taken on board. Have a good trip!
RT @Ops_officer: Busy day again @LondonCityAir, 2 on approach with 1 departure. #FlyLCY #Runway27 #avgeek Where would you go? http://t.co/0
@Vrixom glad you had a good experience with us!
@khbelizaire No plans at the moment but we'll certainly pass this on to the team as something to consider
@wedwardes The apron is the area where all of the planes park.
The airport apron in 1982, before the airport was built #ThrowbackThursday http://t.co/zoL7yWALS0
@kilo_delta_papa @commonsaviation @gaviationr Great piece and some impressive pictures!
@Tmckinnin @mytripreport For a quicker turnaround!
Paris Fashion Week is just around the corner get there in under 2 hours flying from LCY http://t.co/b3ror9IgOO
@julog90 Wow great, some good spots!
@FOHeming Unfortunately not but when we have some you're first on the list! ;)
@radiogeyser Sure, would be great to get your opinion!
Calling all plane spotters! Where is the best place for spotting at LCY? #avgeek
@MKitchellAR We've had no issues reported, if you're in a particularly busy area it may be as there are too many people connecting?
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