New Report: Economic Case to close London City Airport

There is a strong economic case to close London City Airport.  Come again?  There may be an environmental case, but a economic one?  That is exactly what a new report  published on 10th March by the New Economics Foundation claims will happen if London City Airport closes.  Royal Docks Revival: Replacing City Airport, commissioned by HACAN East, shows that, if City Airport were shut down, the land freed up would be able to cater for businesses which produced many more jobs and created a lot more income than the airport does.

The stats are convincing.  City Airport contributes £750 million each year to the UK economy.  The nearby Excel Centre, which occupies roughly the same amount of space as the airport, contributes £1.3 billion.  City Airport employs the equivalent of 1,900 full-time jobs.  The proposed Silvertown Quays development, just along the road, estimates it will employ 9,000.  Even if that turns out to be an overestimate, the difference remains huge.  But the report’s emphasis is more about replacing the airport with community-run businesses rather than with more big corporations.

The closure of London City would not add to the pressure to expand Heathrow or any other London Airport.  City only accounts for 2.4% of the traffic at the London airports, easily absorbed by the other airports.

The report received a lot of publicity including being featured on the front page of the Financial Times.  Here’s some of the other publicity it received:

The Deputy Editor of the Metro (writing in a personal capacity):  - the BBC  - Travel Weekly  - Bloomberg which covers financial matters

The link to the full report is below. Below that, the press release.  And, below that, a blog by Helen Kersley, the main author of the report.

Close LondonCityAirport – new NEF report

A new report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) makes the case for closing London’s CityAirport and redeveloping the site to create jobs, boost local business and build new homes:

  • City Airport creates little value – despite occupying 500,000 square metres at the heart of London, its direct contribution to the UK economy in 2011 was £110m – less than a fifth of the nearby ExCeL Exhibition and Conference Centre.
  • City Airport costs jobs – the airport has never delivered on initial jobs promises and its safety crash zone limits business development across a 3 mile radius. The extra 1500 jobs from current plans to expand CityAirport compare poorly with the 9,000 jobs expected to result from the nearby Silvertown Quays development.
  • Local residents bear all the costs but reap none of the benefits – the average salary of a LondonCityAirport passenger is over £90,000, while 40% of Newham residents earn less than £20,000. 18,000 local residents suffer high levels of noise pollution and poor air quality.
  • London transport no longer needs CityAirport – City Airport’s passengers account for just 2.4% of London’s total flight demand, and its numbers could be readily absorbed by Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted By 2019 Crossrail will allow City workers to reach Heathrow in just 30 minutes.

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HACAN East Response to Newham Consultation on London City Airport Expansion

Dear Sir/Madam,

HACAN East ( represents residents living east of central London and with regard to this consultation, under the London City Airport flight paths. We also represent residents who live under Heathrow flight paths in the area.  In due course, the combined impact on residents Heathrow and City Airport flights needs to be assessed.  We live in East London and South Essex.   It is densely populated and has suffered a substantial increase in air traffic over recent years, particularly due to the massive expansion at London City and the recalibration of their departure routes, which has affected the people in our area more widely in terms of noise and annoyance.

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Thousands object to City Airport expansion plans

Newham Coucil has received thousands of objections to London City Airport's plans for expansion.  The airport wants to build new taxiways and parking stands to accommodate bigger planes.  It also wants more car parking spaces, an hotel and an extyended terminal.  There are local fears about more noise and pollution.  And there are fears that the bigger planes will be noisier, despite denials by the airport.   Below Santal delivering some of the objections to the Council

An Open Letter to Sir Robin Wales

After Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales publically mocked people affected by noise under the Heathrow flight paths when giving a speech in West London recently, HACAN chair John Stewart penned this open letter to him:

1st November 2013

Dear Sir Robin,

We haven’t met.  So I don’t know whether or not you have a sense of humour.  But residents under the Heathrow flight paths aren’t at all amused at the remarks you made when you addressed a recent conference on economic development in West London (

 “What is it with West London? You build an airport, generate thousands of jobs, grow an economy, then say – oh, it’s a bit noisy!”

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Newham Council extends London City Airport expansion application until December 18th 2013


In a tacit admission of the failings in the orginal process – different deadlines given to different people; its website going down on the last three days before the orginal deadline (Monday 28th October) –  Newham Council has extended the London City Airport expansion application until December 18th 2013.  It says it is due to overwhelming demand from local people who wish to make representations.

Responses already submitted will still be included in the new deadline.

A Newham Council spokesperson said:

"We know these are major planning applications and we already had a significant response by 28 October. We have extended the deadline until 18 December to ensure as many local people and wider stakeholders as possible can make their voices heard."

Local Campaigner Alan Haughton, who did so much to expose the failings in the orginal process,  said:

“We welcome the fact the Newham council has listened to residents and extended the consultation. The impacts of the expansion by London City Airport will affect the local area for generations to come so it is of the utmost importance to make sure we all get our voices heard".  

Questions must be be asked why it was left to local campaigners to expose the flaws in the consultation.  Where was the supine London City Airport Consultative Committee which is meant to keep a watching brief on behalf of local people?  

Newham release announcing the new deadline: 

Airport expansion plans will double the numbers affected by aircraft noise

Press Release

embargoed until 28/10/13

London City Airport expansion plans ‘conflict with Mayor’s plans to develop East London’ claim campaigners on day consultation ends

Campaigners claim that London City Airport’s proposals to expand will conflict will Boris Johnson’s plans to develop East London.  The expansion proposals will also almost double the number of households officially disturbed by aircraft noise.

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HACAN East response to City Airport expansion consultation

London City Airport Expansion Applications

CADP1 (planning application 13/01228/FUL) and CADP2 (planning

application 13/0 1373/OUT).

Response from HACAN East (27/10/13)

HACAN East – – represents residents under the Heathrow and City Airport flight paths.  It particularly covers East and SE London.  It is the sister organisation of the well-established HACAN – – which represents residents under the Heathrow flight paths.

HACAN East objects to these applications and calls on Newham Council to reject them.  We set out our reasons below.


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Newham Council consulting on City Airport expansion plans

Newham to consider City Airport’s expansion plans

Deadline for responses: 28th October

Newham Council is set to consider London City Airport’s latest plans for expansion.  The plans need to be approved by the Council as it is the planning authority for the airport.  Its Strategic Planning Committee will take a view on the proposals later this year or early in 2014 but the deadline for responding to the plans is 16th October.  

The expansion plans

London City is not asking for another increase in the number of aircraft permitted to use the airport but the plans could increase noise, pollution and traffic levels.

What London City wants:

·             An extension to the taxiway which runs along the eastern end of the runway

·               Larger parking stands, including seven new ones, to allow for bigger aircraft

·               An larger terminal building

·               A new hotel

·               A rearranged car park

What’s the reason for it?

Ø        London City wants to accommodate larger planes so that, it can serve areas further afield than it does at present – places such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Ø        These larger planes could mean an extra 6 million passengers a year using the airport.

This article from the Evening Standard provides a useful summary of the plans:

What would its plans mean for residents?

City Airport claims that the larger aircraft will be quieter than the current ones but have provided no hard evidence to back this up.

The extra passengers using these planes will mean more traffic using the area.  Even with cars and planes becoming cleaner over the coming years, there must also be a real risk of increasing air pollution in the locality of the airport which already is one of the most polluted in London.

How to object

First, and most important, you don’t need to be an expert to object.  If need be, just write a short email explaining the impact the plans would have on you or simply object because you don’t want more noise, air pollution and traffic.

You don’t need to prove that the larger aircraft will be noisier.  Just raise the question.  It is up to the Airport to prove they will be quieter.

How to comment on, object to, on this applications

Newham Council tell us you can submit your comments online, on the Council’s Public Access Website:  Simply enter the application number (13/01228/FUL.) to retrieve the case.  Click on the ‘comments’ tab and then ‘make a comment’.  Please note that you will need to complete a short registration process to submit your comments online, after which you will receive a confirmation e-mail.  

And, remember, your objection needs to be with Newham Council by 16th October.

What happens next?

Newham Council officers will assess the objections, together with any letters or emails in support of the proposals.

They will then prepare a report for the councillors who are members of the Strategic Planning Committee.  The report will include a recommendation for or against the proposals.

The Strategic Planning Committee will then meet to discuss the recommendation.  They can accept or reject it.  That meeting will be open to the public and it is likely that at least some objectors will be allowed briefly to address the Committee.

London City Airport wants to expand……again!

20th September 2013

London City Airport has applied for permission to expand.  It has asked Newham Council to approve plans for:

  • a new taxi-way and additional parking stands for larger aircraft;
  • an extended terminal;
  • more car parking.

In due course, it would like to see a new hotel.

Four years ago the airport got permission to increase flights numbers 50,000 a year to 120,000.  It is not seeking permission at this stage for any more flights.  What it wants to do is build a new taxi-way and build new, bigger parking stands to permit larger aircraft to land at the airport.

Larger aircraft will of course mean many extra passengers which is the reason why it wants a bigger terminal, more parking and a new hotel.

The airport claims that the new aircraft will be quieter than the current jets.  However, local residents have no proof of that and will be worried that the airport will create more noise.  There are also big concerns in the local community about the impact of extra traffic coming through the area.

HACAN East will be opposing the application.

A good summary of the proposals can be found in this Evening Standard article: