London City Airport has been given the green light by its local council to raise its flights from 80,000 to 120,000 by the end of next year. The expansion is expected to generate £26 million for the local economy as well as creating of 957 jobs.
The Borough of Newham said it had agreed to the 50 percent increase in the number of flights, despite objections from environmentalists over the increase in volume of greenhouse gases. Newham Council originally agreed to the expansion in October, but decided to reconsider after objections by Friends of the Earth. They sought to overturn the decision arguing that it would increase air pollution and impact upon the local population.
Jenny Bates, one of Friends of the Earth’s London campaigners, said: “It’s just completely the wrong way to go - from a climate point of view and in terms of noise and pollution for the locals.”
“It’s right in the middle of London and air quality is a big issue in the city,” she added.
A spokeswoman for Newham council said that early morning flights will not be increased and that there would be strict restrictions on night and weekend operations.
The expansion will be in place for the 2012 Olympic Games - the site is only two miles from the airport.
A record 3.2 million passengers used the airport last year, a 12 percent increase on 2007. But numbers could be considerably lower in 2009 after a 20 percent decline in the first half. Two thirds of the airport’s passengers are on business trips compared to 44 percent at Heathrow.
In September, BA will begin flying from City to New York, the first non-European flight to be operated from the airport.