London’s only central airport, London City, was closed Monday with all flights in and out cancelled, thanks to the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb nearby.
Construction workers found the bomb in King George V Dock, which is a stone’s throw away from the end of the London City Airport runway, on the River Thames. After they reported it to the Metropolitan Police in the early hours of Sunday morning, the airport was shut. It remained closed on Monday.
The police set up a 214-meter (702-foot) exclusion zone so they could deal with the bomb without endangering the public. That meant evacuating residents and setting up road cordons.
“I recognize this is causing inconvenience for our passengers, and in particular some of our local residents,” airport CEO Robert Sinclair said in a statement. “The airport is cooperating fully with the Met Police and Royal Navy and is working hard to safely remove the device and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
The unexploded World War II ordnance that still lies buried is, naturally, found in places where a lot of bombing took place. In the U.K., that means cities such as London, Sheffield, and Portsmouth. A similar exclusion zone had to be set up less than three years ago, when a German bomb was found in an East London building site.
It’s not just a British problem, either. Just last year, the discovery of an enormous Allied bomb in the German financial center, Frankfurt, led to the evacuation of 60,000 people, while Berlin’s Tegel airport had to be closed down while police disarmed a nearby Russian-made bomb of similar vintage.