London City airport to appeal against decision to block expansion

London City airport will appeal against the decision made by Newham Council to refuse the airport’s planning application to increase passenger numbers and amend its opening hours.

The airport submitted its plans in December 2022 to increase its annual passenger cap from 6.5 million to nine million; to add three more flights in the first half hour of operations during the week and fly on Saturday afternoon until 6:30pm (7:30pm in summer) – with no increase to the annual number of flights, beyond what is currently permitted.

It said that only cleaner, quieter, new-generation aircraft would be allowed to fly in any extended periods.

The airport expected the proposals would create 4,500 additional jobs; contribute an additional £702 million in Gross Value Added to London’s economy and enable airlines to serve new routes.

Newham Council’s strategic development committee turned down the plan because of concerns about the impact of noise on local residents from three additional morning and Saturday afternoon flights.

The airport said it “considers that this was the wrong decision and did not properly balance the limited impacts with the very significant benefits of the proposals, particularly in the context of government policy, including making best-use of existing runway capacity”.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “We are disappointed with Newham Council’s refusal of our proposals that will deliver significant benefits to our local community – including new jobs, more choice of holiday destinations for passengers and better local transport connections.

“We have worked incredibly hard to develop proposals that genuinely reflect concerns raised, sought feedback from our local community and worked closely with the council’s planning officers.

“Their views are built into our proposals to ensure that we addressed appropriate concerns and continue to be a good neighbour and local employer.

“If the appeal can be determined shortly, our airlines will be able to progress re-fleeting to cleaner, quieter, new generation aircraft sooner; delivering more choice for passengers, more jobs for local people and reducing the overall noise impact as early as next summer.”

A statement from the council said: “(On Monday July 10) the strategic development committee of Newham Council voted unanimously to reject London City airport’s application to extend its operating hours.

“The refusal reflects the council’s continued concerns over the noise and environmental impact of the airport on those living nearby. These concerns were shared by a number of other boroughs who also submitted objections to the proposals.

“The application will now be referred to the GLA [Greater London Authority]. The committee’s decision upholds the recommendation made by planning officers who assessed these environmental considerations against London City airport’s case for the proposal, which emphasised its economic benefits.”

Lloyd Johnson, chairman of Newham Chamber of Commerce, said: “London City Airport’s proposals will bring more business, jobs and investment to Newham, supporting the ongoing regeneration of the Royal Docks and helping level-up Newham with additional economic activity.”

Tom Stoddart, chief executive of British Airways CityFlyer, added: “The proposals will improve choice and connections for our customers, as well as create considerable employment opportunities and support economic growth in local areas.

“The proposed extended Saturday afternoon operating hours will also support the investment into new, more fuel-efficient and quieter aircraft, which can help benefit the local community.”

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