British Airways operate the Airbus A318 from London City Airport to New York JFK. Due to the unique nature of the steep approach required into London City Airport, at a 5.5 degree angle rather than the usual 3 degrees at most airports, the A318 has been modified with a ‘Steep Approach’ function. It is the largest aircraft with can operate at London City Airport. The runway there is also far shorter than most used by commercial jets, and only 30m wide compared to either 45m or 60m at most major airports. The length of the runway means the takeoff is frequently performed at full power or just below it, resulting in a very ‘sporty’ takeoff! The approach is flown at almost twice the rate of descent until around 62 feet above the runway, when the ‘flare’ to landing commences.

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Airbus A318 at London City Airport

In 2012 I was fortunate enough to fly the A318 to Farnborough Airshow. We filmed the takeoff and a couple of landings at London City Airport and showed the resulting videos on a large screen positioned next to the aircraft on display. The quality of the video is not up to modern day 4K standards! But I hope you enjoy seeing the view from the flight deck during operations at this unique airport.


We also produced a photo slideshow to tell the story of a round trip from London to New York and back again. Set to a wonderful piece of music by Mark Knopfler.


    1. Changes to the flight control computers which raise two spoilers on each wing during the approach, and a radio-altimeter driven call out of “Standby, standby, flare” to assist with the landing. It works very well indeed!


  1. Hi Capt Dave! This is the first time I’ve seen or heard you refer to flying planes other than the A380 (I guess once you’ve flown that, you wouldn’t exactly relish climbing into a 737!), so I wondered if you still fly other planes or are all your duties on the A380 these days? Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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