London City Airport
Takeoffs and landings can be heard from Greenwich to Thamesmead

Revised plans to introduce thousands of flights at London City Airport on Saturday afternoons have been filed to Newham Council – which is looking for Londoners’ views on the proposals.

The airport, in the Royal Docks, does not currently operate after 1pm on Saturdays. It now wants to open until 6:30pm all year round. The plans also include 12 Saturday flights between 6:30pm and 7:30pm during the summer months.

Take-offs and landings can be heard across the north of the borough of Greenwich while areas such as Eltham and Catford are on its flightpath.

Airport bosses have backtracked on proposals to extend Saturday flight times to 10pm following a public consultation it carried out last year.

Although the airport admitted local communities have “legitimate concerns” about noise, it is still proposing to extend Saturday flight times by up to seven hours.

A report on its previous consultation, which received more than 5,000 responses, said its new proposals “balance” public concerns with the “operational and business needs” of the airport and its airlines. The overwhelming concerns for most people were the effect extra flights would have on noise, air quality and climate change.

The report showed that 70 per cent of people commenting online did not support passenger increases at all. Taking into account the views of people consulted at events and passengers travelling through the airport, 40 per cent did not support any passenger increase.

Although the airport is not proposing to increase its 111,000 annual flight limit, it is hoping to increase the annual cap on passengers from 6.5 million to 9 million.

By comparison, in 2019, it saw about 84,000 flights on its runways, carrying a total of 5.1 million passengers.

Other proposals include allowing nine planes to take off or land between 6:30am and 6:59am each morning, an increase of three.

London City Airport has promised to only use “cleaner, quieter, new generation” aircraft during the extended hours. It says longer hours will mean it can offer more leisure routes and trips to more distant destinations and could lower fares.

But the campaign group Hacan East, set up to oppose the airport’s expansion, argues that these aircraft are only quieter during take-off because they rise at a steeper angle, with less noticeable improvements to noise during the rest of the flight.

Newham Council, which is considering the formal planning application, has now opened a statutory public consultation that will close on February 27.

Comments can be left on the Newham planning website, which also has full details of the plans.

Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain

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Josh Mellor is the Local Democracy Reporter for Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Havering, based at the Waltham Forest Echo. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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