Mayor backs London City Airport’s plan to boost flights by half

12.9.2008   (Evening Standard)

Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor


Boris Johnson has given the “green light” to City Airport plans that could see
a 50% increase in flights.

Newham Council delayed a decision to grant planning permission last month after
Mr Johnson intervened, saying he wanted the project to meet certain conditions

These included concerns that land earmarked for regeneration could be blighted
and that the planning case for a Thames Gateway bridge damaged.

However, the Mayor’s office confirmed that he was now happy to back the proposal,
which would see an increase in the number of flights from 80,000 to 120,000 a
year by 2010.

In a letter to airport bosses before the conditions were met, Mr Johnson said:
“I strongly recognise and appreciate the contribution City Airport makes to London’s
world city status, and the benefits the airport offers to the City and Canary

“I also recognise and support the economic contribution and employment opportunities
it provides for Newham residents. These would be enhanced by the current proposals
and, as such, I offer support for the expansion sought.”

However, he warned that any further expansion would be “extremely difficult”
to justify or support. The airport planning application will not cross his desk
but his informal support could help its chances with the local authority and the

Green Assembly member Darren Johnson criticised the Mayor for his “totally unbelievable”
position on expanding City Airport.

“This flies in the face of any environmental commitment the Mayor has got and
it’s just going to add to noise problems,” he said.

“We need to use that land in east London far more productively for housing and
for green industries, not for an airport that is just going to cause environmental
problems. It’s unnecessary to have an airport there now and the scheduled flights
it has are well served by the Channel Tunnel rail link.”

City Airport chiefs have no plans to build a new runway, change the airport’s
hours of operation or to bring in night flights.  Instead it would increase capacity
during current working hours.

Bosses developed the plan for more flights in response to the Government’s Aviation
White Paper, which requires operators to maximise use of existing runways before
building new ones.

Residents near the airport already say noise levels are unacceptable.


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