London City Airport has been closed till further notice after an unexploded Second World War bomb was discovered nearby.
All flights into and out of the East London airport will be stopped on Monday after the device was found in the nearby River Thames on Sunday. The closure has led to the cancellation of more than 100 departures and was affecting up to 16,000 passengers, according to a spokesperson.
The bomb was discovered at the George V Dock at about 5am on Sunday during planned work at the airport. The Metropolitan Police said the airport was shut at 10pm, as officers worked with the Royal Navy to remove the bomb.
Robert Sinclair, CEO of the airport, apologised and said:
“I recognise 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.”
A spokesman said:
“At around 10pm on Sunday an operational decision was made with the Royal Navy to implement a 214-metre exclusion zone to ensure that the ordnance can be safely dealt with whilst limiting any risk to the public.
“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.
“A number of road cordons are in place, and motorists planning to travel through this part of Newham borough are urged to seek alternative routes.
“The operation to remove the ordnance is ongoing in partnership with our colleagues in the Royal Navy. While we endeavour to progress the operation as quickly as possible and minimise disruption, it is important that all of the necessary steps and precautions are taken to ensure it is dealt with safely.”
“We would like to thank everyone affected for their patience and cooperation.”
London City Airport is the 14th busiest in the UK with 4,540,000 passengers in 2017, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority.