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Zen and the art of Airport security sculpture takes flight at London City Airport

London City Airport (LCY) – the only London airport actually located in London – has created an art space in its security pre-screening area, offering passengers – should they seek it – a moment’s pause for reflection amidst the hustle and bustle of airport security. The space showcases an installation of 12 bronze sculptures, commissioned especially for the airport, which act as a metaphor for the passenger journey through the airport.
Depicting a business traveller gradually morphing into an aeroplane – hands and feet becoming ailerons, jacket becoming wings – the sculptures (along with display screens and facilities for passengers to dispose of liquids) complete a sizeable investment in security infrastructure at LCY. This investment has been instrumental in reducing average queue time for security at the airport to less than two minutes, improving customer experience and state of being.
Displayed on permanent pedestals in the pre-screening space, the artwork series is a metaphor for the conformity that all air travellers accept as they pass through the various stages of the journey to departure – via check-in and security, through departure lounge to gate and finally to boarding. During this sequence of events – which takes around 20 minutes at London City Airport – passengers abandon themselves to the experience of air travel, adapting their behaviours to the requirements of the process.
Melanie Burnley, Director of Terminal Services for London City Airport, believes the statues have brought unrivalled quality and elegance, not only to the security area, but to the terminal building as a whole.
“We’re delighted with the statues that Mel Chantrey (a Turner Prize nominee) has created for us – they’re not only striking pieces of art, but will also help guide and channel passengers through this space, all the time giving them pause for thought and enriching their airport experience. 
“The pre-security search area in an airport can be – as any air traveller knows – chaotic and hassled. 
“Ours isn’t – we’re very proud of the sub-two minute queue time we achieve - and now we’re offering a little bit of Zen to take away. ”

Editors note

London City Airport (LCY) is the only airport situated in London itself, just two miles from the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, three miles from Canary Wharf, seven miles from the City and 10 miles from London’s West End – linked to all via the LCY Docklands Light Railway station. Welcoming over 3 million passengers in 2011, LCY is not only uniquely convenient, but offers a uniquely rapid transit, through check-in and security to the departure lounge and gate, of around 20 minutes. 12 airlines fly out of LCY, serving over 40 destinations – the latest additions for 2012 are Basel, Mahon, Angers and Quimper. LCY is on Twitter (@londoncityairport) and further information about flights, destinations and airport services can be found at

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