Expanding London City, Embracing New Technology

The Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday announced a new £344m expansion plan for London City airport, to be completed over the next 5-10 years. The expansion plan will include new space for aircraft to taxi to and from the runway, as well as new larger stands which will ensure larger aircraft are able to fly into and out of the airport.

The announcement not only signalled a boost for the economy – with the potential to create over 2,000 jobs and £1.5bn by 2025 – but also a recognition of the step changes in Aerospace technology development. The push for cleaner and more efficient aircraft is the driving force behind aircraft manufacturers around the world.

From suppliers to OEMs, the advent of safe, quieter, greener commercial aircraft is at the forefront of the hundreds of thousands of engineers and employees working in the Aerospace industry today. Indeed, the UK’s unique capabilities and expertise in wings, Aerostructures, engines and avionics have the ability to continue to shape the development of game changing technology.

No more so is this evident than with the Bombardier CSeries. The CSeries is larger than the aircraft which currently operate out of London City – however its ability to conduct steep approaches and take offs, as well as its environmental improvements, mean future expansion will see the CSeries able to fly into and out of the airport, and will also help to change the operation of aircraft out of London City.

With its lightweight composite wings designed, manufactured and assembled in Belfast, the CSeries represents the best of UK Aerospace. The wings, designed using a patented Resin Transfer infusion (RTI) process, improve the aircraft’s aerodynamic footprint, therefore improving its efficiency and contributing to its 20% less fuel consumption than comparable aircraft. It also contributes to the aircraft’s 50% less perceived noise levels – which are also driven by the CSeries’ revolutionary Geared TurboFan (GTF) engine.

Pratt & Whitney’s GTF separates the intake fan at the front from the turbine in the middle by a gearbox. This gearbox allows the front fan to turn at a lower more efficient speeds than the engine core (around 1/3 of the speed), reducing the amount of noise at critical periods. The aircraft itself will actually be quieter than some of the turboprops it replaces at London City – something usually unheard of when comparing a jet engine to turboprop engine.

This expansion of London City is not only a recognition that greater connections to Europe and beyond help our economy, but that the next generation of commercial aircraft will open up these connections in a sustainable way….and with a ‘whisper’ rather than a ‘roar’.