Thousands more weekend flights planned at East London airport

London City Airport wants to extend the cut-off for Saturday flights from 1pm to 6.30pm

By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

London City Airport

London City Airport is now consulting East Londoners on plans to introduce thousands of extra flights on Saturday afternoons.

In December, the airport submitted an application to Newham Council proposing to extend its Saturday cut-off time for flights from 1pm to 6:30pm. The plans also include twelve Saturday flights allowed between 6:30pm and 7:30pm during the summer months.

The airport originally hoped to extend Saturday flight times as late as 10pm but changed its mind after a public consultation carried out last year.

A report on their previous consultation, which received more than 5,000 responses, said the new proposals balance “legitimate concerns” from residents about noise with the “operational and business needs” of the airport and its airlines.

The overwhelming concerns for most people were the effect extra flights would have on noise, air quality and climate change. The report showed that 70% of people commenting online did not support passenger increases “at all”.

Although the airport is not proposing to increase its 111,000 annual flight limit, it is hoping to increase the annual cap on passengers from 6.5million to 9million. By comparison, in 2019, it saw about 84,000 flights on its runways, carrying a total of 5.1 million passengers.

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Other proposals include allowing nine planes to take off or land between 6:30am and 6:59am each morning, an increase of three.

London City Airport said it is hoping to extend permitted flight hours to “offer more leisure routes”, flights from “more distant locations” and “potentially lower fares”, also promising that only “cleaner, quieter, new generation” aircraft will fly during the extended hours.

However, campaign group HACAN East, set up to oppose the airport’s expansion, argue that these aircraft are only quieter during take-off because they rise at a “steeper angle”, with less noticeable improvements to noise during the rest of the flight.

Flights taking off from City Airport often travel over East London areas such as Bow and Poplar, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Barkingside and Romford.

Changes to London’s multiple flight paths in 2016 led to some Leyton residents complaining of “horrendous” noise levels because they are often also below flights travelling to Heathrow.

Newham Council, which is considering the formal planning application, has now opened a statutory public consultation that will close on 27th February.

The full plans are now available to view and comment on Newham’s website by searching for planning reference “22/03045/VAR”.

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