Get your passport ready: London City Airport is about to take off with a £344m expansion scheme in a post-Brexit vote boost to UK trade

 
Francesca Washtell
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London City Airport is about to expand (Source: Getty)

Forget the debate about Heathrow and Gatwick, London's most central airport is about to take off with a £344m expansion plan in a post-referendum boost to UK trade.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, transport secretary Chris Grayling and communities secretary Sajid Javid have today given the green light to the multi-million pound expansion of London City Airport, in a move that will create 1,600 jobs and add up to £1.5bn to the UK economy by 2025.

The approved plans include an extended terminal, a new aircraft taxiway and increased parking spaces for planes.

Read more: Political meddling threatens City Airport's future

This will enable new stands for bigger, more modern (i.e. quieter) planes to use the airport and more flights at peak times.

Business groups in the capital welcomed the move. Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of London First, said: "The approval of City Airport's expansion is a strong signal that the government takes being open to trade seriously."

The international airport, based in the Royal Docks, served more than 4.3m passengers who did £11bn worth of trade in 2015.

Hammond described the expansion as a "real vote of confidence in the resilience of our economy", that will make it "easier to visit and do business in the City of London".

In addition to the 1,600 airport jobs, London City Airport estimates another 500 construction jobs will be created by the development.

London City Airport will also make a number of investments in transport links around the airport, including funding the cost of additional DLR rolling stock (£2.6m), investing in a bus and taxi access scheme and improving walking and cycle routes to the airport.

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Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: "This decision clearly indicates that Britain is open for business. The expansion of both the airport and terminal building will provide a real boost to economic growth and job creation.

"Commuters also stand to benefit from the expansion of the terminal and improved facilities which will make using the airport more pleasant and efficient.

"A generous compensation package will be provided by the airport to support local residents affected by the increase in air traffic," he added.

Read more: Taking off: London City's £16m lounge revamp

Declan Collier, chief executive of London City Airport, said: "Today, the new Government has shown it is ready to act in the best interests of the British economy. Expansion at London City Airport will create more than 2,000 new jobs in East London, add much-needed aviation capacity in the South East, and generate an additional £750m per year for the UK economy.

"I welcome the decision and look forward to delivering new airport capacity for the South East by 2019.”

Earlier this week, London City Airport became the first airport in the UK to enable customers to use Facebook Messenger to find out the latest real-time information about their flight.

Although it has a reputation for business travellers, more millennials are also using the airport than ever before. The proportion of under-35 passengers reached 35 per cent for the first time between January and March 2016.

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