London City airport been granted planning permission to increase its take-off and landing traffic by 50 per cent.
The local authority, the London Borough of Newham, approved a request by the airport to raise its current ceiling of 80,000 movements to 120,000 per anum. This would allow passenger numbers to rise to more than 3.9m with the number of jobs at the airport increasing by 1,000 to more than 3,000.The airport, which predominately serves the financial services in the Square Mile and and Canary Wharf, has grown rapidly in recent years with passenger numbers rising by more than 20 per cent a year in both 2006 and 2007.
Both British Airways and Air France have raised their operations at the airport. Next year BA plans to open the first long-haul route from London City to New York JFK.
However it is feared the financial meltdown will severely impact business. Passenger traffic is still forecast to rise from 2.9m to 3.2m this year due to rapid expansion in the first half, but it is forecast to be flat in 2010. Corporate jet movements are already in decline.
“We could see some return to modest growth in 2010, but we have been finding it very difficult to forecast in recent months,” said Richard Gooding, chief executive of the airport.
The airport has already invested heavily to create facilities to cope with higher volumes and in recent months has added four more aircraft stands. It has opened a new pier and has almost doubled the size of the departure lounge.