London has more international airports than any other city in the world: six in total. But why? You’ve been Googling it, so we asked airport boffin and comedian Jay Foreman.
‘London’s largest airport, Heathrow, is hemmed in by the suburbs and limited to just two runways,’ he explains. ‘Because it can’t expand, the demand for air travel is met by smaller, single-runway airports around the South-East: Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and Southend.’ None of these are technically in London, however: ‘A combination of high demand and clever marketing has meant these former RAF bases are known as “London” airports, despite being some distance from the capital.’
The big exception is London City Airport: ‘Built from scratch in 1987 on an old dock that was already conveniently runway-shaped,’ adds Foreman, it’s the only international airport apart from Heathrow that’s actually within Greater London. The rest are just blagging it.