London City Airport’s plans for expansion have suffered a setback after Newham Council’s strategic development committee voted to block the move.

The airport had been seeking to increase the current planning cap on the number of passengers from 6.5 million to 9 million passengers per annum by 2031.

It also wanted to extend operating hours on Saturday from the current closing time of 12.30pm to 6.30 pm, with an additional hour in the summer for arriving flights only, up to a maximum of 12.

City expansion

And it was seeking to allow three additional flights in the first half hour of operations on Mondays to Saturdays (6.30am-6.59am) with a new limit of nine flights instead of the current limit of six flights.

However Newham Council said it was ‘a reasonable expectation of nearby residents to receive the benefits’ of the existing restrictions.

Councillor Rachel Tripp tweeted: “After hearing from the airport, from supporters and objectors, the committee voted unanimously to support officer recommendation and to reject the application. A tough decision but the right one.”

Cleaner, quieter, new generation aircraft

Prior to the decision, London City Airport said of its application: “In a first for a UK airport, London City will mandate that only cleaner, quieter, new generation aircraft will be allowed to operate in any newly extended hours on a Saturday, and for any new flights in the first half hour of the day. This will result in airlines replacing their older fleets with new generation aircraft in order to benefit from any increased flexibility, which in turn will accelerate the benefits of quieter aircraft for local residents throughout the week as the airport becomes home to one of the newest, most modern, aircraft fleets in the country.

“With East London, and Newham in particular, facing up to the stark challenges of the cost-of-living crisis, the airport will, as part of the plans, offer a new Community Fund of £3.8 million over ten years to be distributed directly to local good causes via the established Trust. The growth in passenger numbers to 9 million annually and increased operational flexibility will also create almost 2,200 additional jobs across London, with 1,340 additional jobs being created at the airport itself.”

Speaking in support of the proposals, London City Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair previously said: “In formulating these proposals, we have worked incredibly hard and thought incredibly hard about achieving the right balance, recognising the interests of local residents and how we can improve the environmental impact of our operations, in particular noise and emissions.”
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