City Airport faces battle for extra flights on early mornings and over weekend


City Airport faces a battle to operate more weekend and early-morning flights after more than 1,000 people responded to a consultation.

The airport, in the Royal Docks, plans to ask Newham council for permission to increase the cap on annual passenger numbers from 6.5 million to nine million, a figure it expects to reach by 2031, and allow extra flying hours.

An expansion of flying time would allow more leisure flights and could pave the way for a return of direct business flights to New York.

But campaigners say thousands of residents face losing the quiet period at the weekend when no flights operate.

Approval would also be required from Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose new City Hall sits under the flight path. The airport wants to allow flights up until 10pm on Saturdays — there is currently a ban on flights between 12.30pm on Saturday until 12.30pm on Sunday — and permission for more than 400 late departures or arrivals throughout the week.

It also wants to double, from six to 12, the number of flights allowed between 6.30am and 7am, Monday to Saturday, to enable more connections with hub airports at Schipol in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle in Paris. quieter aircraft — such as the 146-seat Embraer E195-E2 — would be allowed to use any new slots.

Planes lined up at City Aiport in the Royal Docks

/ PA Archive

John Stewart, chairman of campaign group Hacan East, said: “These proposals are aimed at increasing the leisure market… That is the reason they want to operate flights during the whole of Saturday, which is probably the most controversial of their proposals. ”

The consultation documents predict that almost 41,000 residents would be affected by at least 57 decibels of noise by 2031 — 10,000 fewer than under a “do nothing” scenario. Mr Stewart predicted that for many people living under the flight path the reduction in noise would be “For most people, they will be getting more planes, and they really won’t notice the reduction in noise,” he said.

Liam McKay, director of corporate affairs at London City Airport, said the current cap of 6.5 million passengers was likely to be reached in 2026-27.

The airport currently connects with 36 destinations. Mr McKay said: “We are growing the number of passengers without the same amount of growth in flights. That is a trend we expect to continue.”

Plans to expand the terminal are unlikely to be restarted until half-way through the decade. The consultation closes on September 9.


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