Use of existing capacity at London City Airport will help meet the air connectivity needs of London and the UK in the period between the government’s response to the Airports Commission and the completion of any new infrastructure, officials at the airport said earlier.
The news comes at the Davies Commission recommends expansion at London Heathrow Airport, at the expense of a second runway at Gatwick.
The government has said that it will give its official response to the Commission in the autumn and it is estimated that, if given the go-ahead, any new runway would take more than a decade to build.
In the meantime, London City has an existing permission to increase flights from 75,000 today to 120,000, injecting another 45,000 aircraft movements into an already-constrained system.
Using this existing capacity has, however, been delayed by the mayor of London who has directed refusal of planning permission for extra aircraft stands at London City Airport.
The ability to fully utilise existing capacity at London City Airport also depends on the willingness of government to uphold the airport’s appeal against the mayor’s ruling.
Declan Collier, chief executive, London City Airport, believes the opportunity to deliver extra capacity into the London airport system in the short term is too great – and too greatly needed – to be hamstrung by one person:
“London City Airport recognises that any new runway in the south-east is unlikely to be delivered until the late 2020s, and believes that better use of existing airport capacity must be made in the interim period.
“We already have permission to increase flight movements – we simply require a permission to expand the airport’s existing infrastructure in order to inject much-needed capacity into the London system pending the delivery of any new runway favoured by the Government.
“Extra capacity could be in operation at LCY within 18 months.
“Airports bring immense benefits – to the communities in which they operate, through employment, education, training and community relations, and to the wider economy – as well as facilitating national and international trade and providing businesses with the opportunity to develop and invest.
“It would be a travesty if London and the UK were not allowed to make the best use of airport capacity in the short term, as well as in the medium and long terms.”