London City Airport in the docklands has opened a public consultation as it seeks to increase the number of planes that can use the airport at weekends.

The airport expects to return to pre-pandemic passenger numbers of 5 million, potentially as soon as 2024. At the moment, the airport can cope with up to 6.5 million passengers per year, but they expect that demand could reach 9 million by 2031.

At the moment, there’s a limit on flights at weekends, with no planes allowed to land or take off after 1pm on Saturdays and before 12:30pm on Sundays. The consultation launched by the airport is looking to remove the Saturday afternoon restriction, although there would still be a break from airline noise on Sunday mornings.

An existing 8-hour night-time curfew during the week will also remain in place, with no flights between 10pm and 6:30am. There’s also a limit on how many flights are permitted in the early hours, so they want to lift that from 6 flights between 6:30am to 7am to 12 flights in that 30-minute slot.

They’re also seeking more flexibility to deal with delayed flights. At the moment, they can allow up to 400 flights a year in the final half-hour of operations in the evening, between 9:30 to 10pm and want to raise that.

With no plans to increase the number of flights per year from the existing 111,000 permitted, the only way for the airport to cater to more passengers is to allow larger planes to use the airport.

In addition to permitting larger planes, they want to have more flexibility in when the flights take place, especially at the start and end of the day, and on Saturday afternoons. To offset that, they propose that only the quieter, new generation aircraft, such as the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2, would be allowed to fly in the new operating periods.

The argument put forward by the airport is that by adapting to passenger demand, they can encourage investment in new quieter planes, and that aircraft noise level across the wider East London would be lower by the 2030s. Although noise will be lower across the wider area once the planes are in the sky, it would still be significant in the area around the airport itself.

To support increased passenger numbers, they are also proposing improved local bus connections, and to be better connected to the Elizabeth line station at Custom House. They are also proposing to extend the DLR operating hours, although the DLR calling at City Airport station already amply covers the airport’s proposed opening hours.

The 10-week consultation includes 7 public events across East London between July 12th and 21st as well as pop-up events through August.

The consultation papers are here.

Public exhibitions

  • Newham: Tuesday 12th July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Britannia Village Hall, 65 Evelyn Road, E16 1TU
  • Tower Hamlets: Wednesday 13th July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Bernie Cameron Community Centre, 32 Merchant Street, Bow, E3 4LX
  • Lewisham: Thursday 14th July, 10am – 2pm, St Mary’s Centre, 37 Ladywell Road, SE13 7UT
  • City of London: Thursday 14th July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Dutch Church, 7 Austin Friars, EC2N 2HA
  • Redbridge: Monday 18th July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, IG1 1EA
  • Greenwich: Tuesday 19th July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Clockhouse Community Centre, London, SE18 5QL
  • Waltham Forest: Friday 22nd July, 3:30 – 7:30pm, Priory Court Community Centre, 11 Priory Court, E17 5NB

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One comment
  1. ChrisC says:

    They will have a real problem getting the Saturday PM / Night closure planning condition lifted.

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