Thursday 12 December 2019 4:01 pm

London City Airport cops flak for RAF base flights

A commercial airport service run partly by London City Airport out of an RAF base is attracting complaints from local residents.

VIP London Airport runs out of RAF Northolt in Ruislip, west London, offering “discreet and secure departure and entry into the UK”.

Read more: Extinction Rebellion disrupt London City Airport flights

The MoD allows 12,000 flights a year from the base, equivalent to 33 a day, after lifting the cap from 7,000 in 2013.

London City Airport acts as a commercial partner for the service and is in charge of sales and passenger processing.

Local politicians from across the party divide have now lined up to complain about the flights, saying they cause excess pollution and noise for residents.

Harrow West Labour MP Gareth Thomas said there was no public consultation about the airport.

“The vast majority of flights there are now commercial,” he said.

“There was no direct consultation from the Tories with residents of Harrow who live under the flight path just four miles away.”

Meanwhile, Harrow East Conservative MP Bob Blackman said air quality in the area was poor.

He said: “There should be no increase in flights, flight paths or general aviation over or around Harrow or the wider west London area.

“I am concerned that commercial flights have restarted at Northolt and urge authorities to reconsider.”

RAF Northolt re-opened on 31 October, after six months of renovations on the runway.

The base’s runway underwent a £23m upgrade recently, however it did not need planning approval as it is run by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The airport, which acts as London’s fourth-largest for business aviation traffic, had 9,000 recorded flights in 2018.

An MoD spokesperson said the 12,000-flight cap would not be lifted, despite a 2012 report from the department showing the base could accomodate 50,000 commercial flights each year.

A MoD spokesperson said: “The closure of the airfield for renovation in 2019 was for Military requirements and had no association with further commercialisation.

“Likewise the cap in civil movements remains at 12,000 alongside stringent measures designed to reduce noise pollution.

Read more: City Airport had lower fares than Heathrow and Gatwick this summer

“We continue take the views of local communities very seriously and the station continues to liaise extensively with local community groups.”

London City Airport declined to comment.

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