Aeroplanes flying to and from London City Airport had their plans scuppered on Friday, after a heavy fog bank rolled into the Docklands hub, grounding several flights, and forcing airborne planes to land elsewhere.
The incident, which is the first closure of its kind since the winter of 2009/10, excluding the recent volcanic ash crisis, resulted in delays to outbound flights, many of which will have been routes operated by British Airways. Up to 18 take-offs were aborted, and 10 inbound flights from other airports were hastily cancelled.
London City is one of the most fog-prone airports in the UK, succumbing to the phenomenon regularly during the winter months. Speaking about a similar event in February 2008, a spokesperson for the London hub claimed that City’s short runway leaves limited margin for error, as take-offs and landings are steeper than at Gatwick Airport, for example. Weather conditions that result in low visibility, such as fog or snow, complicate an already difficult approach for inbound aircraft.
In comparison, Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire is rarely hit by fog, often serving as a ‘safety net’ for planes that can’t land at Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Planes bound for London City were sent to Heathrow and Gatwick on Friday, as the Docklands hub battled with poor weather conditions into the afternoon.
The BBC News website reports that the nearby Woolwich ferry terminal was also hit by fog, delaying departures, and preventing travellers from crossing the Thames.
Despite a morning of cancellations, London City reported only a minor backlog of delayed flights. The airport had been urging travellers to contact their respective airlines before leaving their homes.