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Newham council to block London City Airport’s expansion plans

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Late last year, London City Airport submitted a planning application to the London Borough of Newham to allow for a sharp expansion in passenger numbers via longer opening hours.

The airport asked for:

  • its annual passenger cap to be lifted from 6.5 million passengers to 9 million
  • the airport to be open on Saturday afternoons, with closure at 6.30pm (7.30pm during the Summer for arrivals only) compared to the current 12.30pm
  • three additional flights between 6.30am and 6.59am, Monday to Saturday, compared to the current limit of six
London City Airport expansion planning permission

There would be no change to the annual flight cap of 111,000, and no change to the eight hour curfew in operation during the night.

In return for permission, the airport is offering:

  • limitations on the aircraft types which will be allowed to land on Saturday afternoons and between 6.30am and 6.59am, limiting it to specific quieter models
  • ‘improved noise mitigation’ for local residents
  • a £3.8 million Community Fund to be contributed over a 10 year period (vs the current £75,000 per year contribution)
  • plans to invest in improved public transport services – this could include improved bus connections between the airport and the Elizabeth Line and / or enhanced DLR operations in the mornings

The plans will be heard by the London Borough of Newham’s Strategic Development Committee on 10th July.

However, the council announced on Friday that it has recommended that the Committee refuse the application. You can see the letter here.

The council held a public consultation on the plans earlier in the year. The proposals had already been scaled back following the airport’s own public consultation – the original plan was to open until 10pm on Saturday and add an additional six flights before 7am each day.

This isn’t the end of the story, of course. The development would presumably meet the criteria for an appeal to the Mayor and potentially further. That said, given the number of ways that the local authority can interfere with the operation of the airport, I assume that London City would not proceed if it did not have Newham’s approval.

Comments (81)

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  • Mark says:

    Taking my first ever flight out of city next month. Really looking forward to it

  • Sean says:

    Funnily enough Newham Council has allowed a music festival just beyond the runway at LCY opposite the Excel Centre this week with the noise far more noticeable (and going non-stop) all weekend.

    • Mark B says:

      Bit of a difference between a pop up music event running 12pm-10pm vs the proposed daily/weekly changes starting at 6:30am.

      • Sean says:

        Either noise matters or it doesn’t? The whole point of the weekend break is to provide respite from noise. No point in it if for two weekends running you replace one kind of noise with a different for even longer than the first kind usually operates.

        • Ziggy says:

          Ah yes, the “logical” if you can put up with noise for one or two weekends, you should be happy to put up with it for a lot more weekends to come”. What a truly idiotic argument.

        • babyg says:

          (eye roll)….

  • Andrew. says:

    The current LCY experience is pretty shabby.

    Not enough toilets, at the main gates, too many stairs at arrivals. And then there’s the downstairs “lounges” or holding pens that have no toilets at all, and fewer seats than an Embraer.

    And, looking at you Mayor of London, too few tap plates for contactless when entering or exiting the DLR

  • Mark B says:

    As a local resident noise (especially in the summer) is a big factor being considered here. A few challenges I’ve had, that have gone unanswered during the consultation have been if they have quieter planes they want to use at earlier hours, why aren’t they using these as part of the regular services anyway? And secondly the proposal for ‘improved noise mitigation’ for local residents has been extremely vague, what does this entail exactly? I find it hard to see what these could be in summer months when doors/windows need opening to deal with the heat.

    • will says:

      I would assume that they’d work with airlines to schedule the quieter planes in their fleets for those slots.
      Not all airlines operate new quiet planes and they can’t change old planes easily or quickly simply due to a noise restriction at one airport out of many they may operate at.

      As for improved noise mitigation I totally agree with you there, because of the relatively short runway and high density in a central London location it would seem very hard to reduce noise levels or alter approach/take off significantly.

  • zapato1060 says:

    There’s a site that links to all hfp content but is laddened with ads!!! Are they allowed to piggy back like this?

  • redlilly says:

    My job brings me to LBN quite a lot and I have met the mayor a number of times. Whilst I don’t agree with all of the politics involved and acknowledging that no local authority or mayor is perfect, Newham and RF are actually some of the better ones in London. She is a decent mayor too, who does really care about her local area. At least she has made her views and thoughts clear since her election. Furthermore, she has stuck to her guns, regardless of whether some agree with her or not. I understand she may be on the hunt for a seat at the next election, so who knows LCY might try/punt again once the next few years are out of the way.

    Also, to those talking about the noise of planes etc. I live in NE London, absolutely no where near Heathrow, therefore would never be able to receive any form of compensation or upgrades to my property, and depending on which way the wind is blowing I can always hear the first jumbo coming in. I am not complaining about it, as I love living in London and acknowledge noise is part of it, however some people who live in NE London perhaps chose it because they thought they wouldn’t get plane noise. Different types of noise upset different types of people.

    • john says:

      Similar here. Plane noise is likely wherever you live around London. I hear all the 11pm Africa bound departures from LHR most nights at 7-8,000ft going overhead and I am 20mins south of the m25 in Surrey! They can be pretty loud in the summer as they are still climbing at full pelt on the engines.

  • Chris W says:

    The passenger experience at LCY is awful now. There’s simply not enough space or toilets for the number of passengers. I used to love flying from there, now I avoid it. They need a complete terminal redesign if they want to increase capacity.

    • Bervios says:

      Outbound LHR for the lounges, inbound to LCY for the easy journey home.

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