City Airport set for £200m expansion by 2023

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London City Airport will expand to double its passenger numbers by 2013, it has been announced. The owners of the East London airport, American infrastructure fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), are seeking planning consent to build an extended terminal and new parking stands and taxi ways for larger aircraft.

These facilities would see the potential number of take-offs and landings at City Airport more than double from 50,000 to 120,000 – providing services for an extra six million passengers. GIP plans on utilising larger aircraft to increase peak hour capacity and better serve the airport’s predominantly business-centric clientèle.

Concerns have been raised over the consequences the expansion may have on local air and noise pollution, and GIP have been pressurised by local campaigners to ensure the project generates growth and local jobs on the same scale as a project such as the Royal Albert Dock – the £1b investment in which has generated 20,000 jobs at the “Asian Business Port”.

GIP Chief Executive Declan Collier stated: “Today we are presenting the detail on how we propose to build the infrastructure for 50,000 more flight movements a year to 120,000 by the mid-2020s. The timing is right as everyone knows that London is moving to the East so our catchment area is growing. Sixty per cent of our customers are business passengers and the economy is growing so the potential is great.”

Despite the Olympics helping to create an influx of three million passengers last year, GIP is still yet to profit from the £465m acquisition of City Airport in 2006.

Speaking of the new Bombardier C Series aircraft fleet that would serve the airport, Collier added: “The aircraft that will serve the airport will be quieter and cleaner and we will put in place enhanced noise mitigation; all our modelling shows the noise increase will be negligible.”

Richard Greenan