London City Airport closed, flights cancelled due to WWII bomb
London City Airport has been shut down for a second day since the discovery of a World War II bomb in the River Thames nearby on February 11, 2018. All flights in and out of the airport were cancelled affecting approximately 16,000 passengers according to BBC.
The unexploded 500kg German air-dropped bomb was found by workers at King George V Dock in River Thames at 05:06 GMT during pre-planned maintenance work at the airport in east London, the London Metropolitan Police announced.
Following the discovery, the airport was shut down at 22:00 GMT and a 214-meter exclusion zone was set up by the Metropolitan Police and the Royal Navy to ensure that the ordnance can be safely dealt with.
„Overnight, officers have been helping to evacuate properties within the exclusion zone and police are working with the local authority to provide residents with temporary emergency accommodation and the appropriate support,“ the Metropolitan Police said.
Passengers were urged not to come to the airport and contact their airline for more information about their flight.
“I recognize this is causing inconvenience for our passengers and in particular some of our local residents. The airport is cooperating fully with the Met Police and Royal Navy and working hard to safely remove the device and resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” said Robert Sinclair, CEO of London City Airport, in an official statement.
BBC reports that a total of 261 arrivals and departures were scheduled for Monday, February 12, 2018, with 130 flights having been cancelled by 08:00 GMT.
Some airlines, like CityJet and Alitalia were forced to reschedule their flights to other airports. Airlines using the London City Airport include CityJet, Air France, British Airways, Flybe, KLM, Lufthansa and others
The closure grounded 16,000 passengers and is estimated to cost airlines more than £1m, The Independent writes.
Last year, Lonon City Airport handled 4.5 million passengers, and a £400m expansion plan is currently in the works. The operation of removing the unexploded device is expected to continue until Tuesday morning.