The capital’s Mayor Boris Johnson has rejected a £200 million expansion plan for London City Airport as it would lead to unacceptable noise levels.
The move left the Docklands airport “perplexed and disappointed” with chief executive Declan Collier claiming the decision went against “everything that the Mayor supports and promotes”.
The expansion proposals included an increase in the number of flight from 70,000 a year to 111,000, almost doubling the number of passengers to six million by 2023.
The terminal would also have been extended and seven new stands for aircraft built.
The plans included increasing runway capacity to allow more take-offs and landings at peak times and to handle quieter, more fuel efficient next generation aircraft.
But in a letter sent to Newham Council, Johnson directed the local authority to refuse the airport’s planning application.
Collier said: “It is ironic that the Mayor of London, whose platform has always been one of advantage for business in London, is denying the capital the business opportunity presented by growth at London City Airport.
“It is doubly ironic that this decision was taken on London City’s busiest-ever day, when more than 16,500 passengers passed through the terminal.
“Demand for the connectivity the airport provides is growing, driven by the success of London as a global business centre, and to service this demand, the airport needs to grow.
“Development at London City Airport, which is in line with current aviation policy, would also inject extra airport capacity into the London system at a time when that capacity is very constrained – and will continue to be at least until 2030, which is the earliest date that new runway infrastructure could be delivered.
“The Mayor’s decision has also jeopardised this additional capacity uplift.”
The airport argued that its plans involved the extension of existing infrastructure to enable the airport to achieve an already-permitted growth in flight numbers.
The scheme had the ability to deliver an additional £750 million a year to the UK economy, 2,000 new jobs in the local Newham area and east London.
“London City Airport is considering the substance of the Mayor’s direction to refuse and will make a decision on its response strategy in due course,” it said in a statement.
A spokesman for Johnson told the London Evening Standard: “The Mayor has long argued that Heathrow airport cannot be expanded due to the increased noise it would lead to in west London and he is not willing to expose east London to additional noise either.
“The Mayor continues to believe that a new hub airport to the east of London is the only long-term option that will provide enough aviation capacity – without detriment to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of people in London and the south-east.”
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