London mayor Sadiq Khan has slammed the proposed expansion of London City airport as the 10-week public consultation on the ramp up of services ends on Friday.
Khan accused the airport of not “having demonstrated satisfactorily that [the plans] are compatible with our net-zero and wider environment objectives.”
“It is essential the airport recognises that unfettered growth is not an option and that it must be proactive in addressing its noise, air quality and carbon impacts,” a spokesperson for City Hall told City A.M.
The airport, on the other hand, said its proposal would benefit both the environment as well as London’s economy.
“We will deliver more choice and flexibility for passengers without increasing the number of flights coming into and out of the airport,” Liam McKay, director of corporate affairs at London City, told City A.M.
London City launched the review on 1 July to get feedback on its plan to increase passenger capacity to 9 million passengers by 2031.
The Newham airport is currently forecast to reach 3 million travellers by the end of this year, going up to 5 million by 2024.
The hub said it could achieve its goal by operating on Saturday afternoon and evening as well as extending operational hours by 30 minutes in the mornings and evenings on weekdays.
Under the current regulation, London City operates on Saturdays from 6.30am to 12.40pm with a 24-hour break until Sunday at 12.30.
No additional infrastructure or changes to the eight-hour night curfew will be needed.
Additionally, the plan comes with a commitment that only new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A220 and the Embraer E2 will be used during the new operating times to avoid an increase in noise pollution.
This is part of London City’s pledge to become the capital’s first net-zero airport by 2030.
The Embraer E2 is 63 per cent quieter and uses 30 per cent fuel compared with older models, while the engine of the A220 is 75 per cent quieter than older designs.
The proposal has received a warm welcome from both London businesses and airlines catering the airport, such as KLM’s regional subsidiary KLM Cityhopper.
According to Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, the expansion will bolster the capital’s tourism industry, while advocacy group BusinessLND – formerly known as London First – said the move was vital.
“Tourists and business visitors arriving into the heart of the capital contribute significantly to the national economy and we should continue to ensure we are getting the best possible value out of City Airport,” said BusinessLDN’s programme director for transport Adam Tyndall.
Residents and environmental campaigners nonetheless believe the expansion will lead to increased noise and air pollution, as the number of flights is to increase to 110,00 if the proposal goes ahead.
In a response to the consultation, HACAN East – which represents the residents impacted – said the expansion will increase climate change emissions instead of cutting noise annoyance “across the board.”
“CY should stop trying to cash in as the climate crashes,” said Alethea Warrington, campaigns manager at climate charity Possible. “Rather than bigger planes, we need a fair way to reduce air travel by taxing the small group of people who take most of the flights.”
It is understood that, following the consultation’s end, London City will review the submissions and decide whether to present a planning application.