London City airport has formally submitted a planning application to the London Borough of Newham for an increase in its annual passenger cap from 6.5 to 9 million by 2031.
The airport also wants to extend its Saturday operations until 1830, with an additional hour during the summer for arrivals only – noise restrictions mean LCY currently has to close between 1300 on Saturday and 1230 on Sunday.
The application follows feedback from a ten-week consultation on the plans over the summer, which received over 5,000 responses.
LCY had originally put forward proposals for an extension of Saturday operating hours until 2200, but said that concerns raised during the consultation had led it to adjust the plans.
If approved, the proposals would also allow for three additional flights in the first half hour of operations on Mondays to Saturdays (0630-0659).
LCY said that under the plans there would be no increase to the annual number of permitted flights (111,000) , and no change to the existing eight-hour nigh time curfew.
Sunday hours of operation would also remain unchanged (1230-2200), as would the annual cap on late departing or arriving aircraft in the last 30 minutes of operations (400).
The airport said it would mitigate disruption caused by the increased flying by mandating that only” cleaner, quieter, new generation aircraft can fly in any extended hours”, and would set up a new Community Fund of £3.8 million over ten years, to be distributed to local good causes.
LCY also plans to create a Transport Fund “which could be used to improve bus connections between the airport and the Elizabeth Line and enhanced DLR operations in the mornings, benefiting staff, passengers, and local residents”.
London Borough of Newham is expected to commence a 30-day public consultation on the proposals from mid-January, with LCY stating that if approved, the plans would create almost 2,200 jobs across London by 2031, contributing an additional £702 million in Gross Value Added to London’s economy.
Commenting on the news LCY’s chief executive, Robert Sinclair, said:
“As we bounce back from the pandemic and demand increases, we need to ensure London City can accommodate the increase in business and leisure passengers forecast over the next decade or so, particularly as East London grows, and more and more passengers choose to fly through London’s fastest and most convenient airport.
“Most importantly, the proposals have been very carefully designed with input from our airlines to ensure that flying from London City becomes more sustainable, with more new generation aircraft, reducing noise impacts and emissions per passenger.
“We are committed to working with our local community to ensure our plans work for residents as well as our airlines and passengers. We have listened to the feedback provided in our extensive consultation, and have adjusted the proposals to reflect concerns raised, including reducing the proposed increase in operating hours on Saturdays, reducing the proposed increase in flights in the first 30 minutes and retaining the existing limit on flights in the last 30 minutes.
“Our proposals will create more jobs, invest more money into the local community, fund better transport connections and improve sound insulation for local residents.”