Watch – hot air balloons rise over London City Airport

Early Sunday morning, a light breeze, perfect conditions, and the skies above East London were dotted with drifting shapes in primary colours.

The Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta took to the skies from London City Airport coinciding with the 30th birthday celebrations of the Docklands landmark.

At 7am, 27 lifted off, the first time from the runway, and stayed airborne for an hour, travelling north eastwards at around 1,000 feet, over Dagenham, Hornchurch and Upminster, before dispersing and landing.

LCY chief executive Declan Collier said:London City Airport’s unique location provided the balloons with a stunning backdrop featuring London’s Royal Docks, the River Thames and the iconic London skyline nearby.”

Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley said: “This glorious sight will raise spirits along with support for my Lord Mayor’s Appeal – benefitting three charities which do a huge amount to support education and music in our communities. They are: London Symphony Orchestra Discovery programme, St Paul’s Cathedral Music Outreach and Music in Hospitals.”

The colourful event forms part of the Lord Mayor’s Show but the date always depends on the weather – with organisers looking for a Sunday when the wind is going to be favourable.

Thursday, October 26 marks exactly 30 years since London City Airport began commercial operations, with two airlines initially serving just three routes in 1987 – Plymouth, Paris and Brussels.

These days the airport serves around 50 destinations on 11 airlines and in 2016 welcomed a record-breaking 4.6million passengers. The airport was officially opened by the Queen on November 5, 1987.