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London City Airport praises expert bomb disposal teams following return to normal flight operations


London City Airport returned to business as usual on Tuesday, welcoming over 13,000 passengers and operating 264 flights, following the discovery of a Second World War bomb submerged in King George V Dock on Sunday morning, which closed the airport on Monday.

Today the Royal Navy confirmed the successful detonation of the 500kg bomb in the waters off the Ministry of Defence’s Shoeburyness range.

The historic ordnance was found in King George V Dock as part of pre-planned survey work being carried out ahead of construction for the airport’s £480 million development programme. Metropolitan Police and Royal Navy diver teams examined the device, following which an exclusion zone was declared, and local residents evacuated, overseen by the London Borough of Newham.

The subsequent safeguarding and detonation of the historic device was handled by a joint operation between the Royal Navy, British Army bomb disposal teams, and the Metropolitan Police.

Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, said:

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the Royal Navy and in particular, the team of expert divers under the command of Lieutenant Commander Sean Heaton for their professionalism and tireless efforts over a prolonged period to bring this operation to a safe conclusion.

“Monday’s events caused a lot of disruption, not least for our local residents and passengers, but flights returned to normal on Tuesday. The collaboration between the Royal Navy, the Metropolitan Police, the Army and London Borough of Newham represented an excellent example of London emergency planning.”

Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, the officer in charge of Southern Diving Unit 2, said:

"The operation to remove the Second World War bomb from London City Airport was extremely successful and my team worked incredibly hard to ensure that public safety remained the priority at all times.

“Royal Navy bomb disposal experts are called out roughly every 18 hours to incidents such as this and we are well trained and well placed to deal with them. We are pleased that London City Airport was able to reopen yesterday while we safely detonate the device well away from any public areas out at sea.”

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