Our History

Located in the historic Royal Docks area of East London, our airport has been at the heart of regeneration in the local area ever since it opened almost 30 years ago.

The Royal Docks are made up of three separate docks in the east of London,

  1. Royal Victoria Dock (opened in 1855)
  2. Royal Albert Docks (opened in 1890)
  3. King George V Dock (opened in 1921)

The docks were opened for large ships that could not make the journey further down the river Thames, but by 1981 all three had closed and fallen into decline due to the introduction of container ship operations.

In order to address the decline of the area and promote regeneration, the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was established in 1981, with an airport one of the corporation’s key ideas. Five years later construction began on LCY, opening on May 31st 1987.

In our first full year of operation we welcomed 133,000 passengers,  and within ten years of opening we had passed the 1 million mark. In 2015 we expect some 4.2 million passengers, and for the airport’s contribution to the UK economy to be in the order of £750m.


What we’ve achieved

East London is quickly transforming into the home of technology and innovation with clusters such as Tech City (located in Old Street, just 25 minutes away from LCY) and iCity (based in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park) leading the way.

More than 1000 creative companies are located in East London including household names such as Cisco, Vodafone, Facebook, and Intel, all of which recognise the advantages of being part of this thriving centre of technological excellence.

Thanks to our convenient location, short check-in and arrival times, and connectivity to key destinations such as Frankfurt, Geneva, and New York, we act as a gateway into London for these businesses. Our passengers know that they are just a short journey away from our airport and can quickly be on their way to an important business meeting.

Over the last 15 years we have already been an influential factor in the substantial development decisions being made in London’s Royal Docks, including:


What we can achieve

The growth of East London shows no signs of stopping and has the highest rate of business start-ups in the whole of the city. It is estimated that the number of active enterprises in Inner East London will grow by 21.5% by 2020, and more than 100,000 jobs will be generated in the Stratford International Quarter and Canary Wharf by 2031.

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A number of exciting developments in East London and the Royal Docks area include:

We are aiding this development and with expansion can make an even bigger contribution. With our customer proposition of speed, location, and experience, combined with new destinations such as Athens, Budapest, Helsinki, Istanbul, Moscow, the Gulf, and the Middle East, we will provide this emerging business hub with the connectivity it needs to grow and thrive.