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​London City Airport is currently consulting with the public on its expansion plans over the next 15 years.

Its draft masterplan, the first since 2006, outlines how the hub in Royal Docks will exploit its new capacity, which is currently under construction in a £500 million revamp.

Major proposals in the draft plan include:

  • Increase on the current cap on flights from 111,000 today to 151,000 by 2035.
  • Increase the number of flights in the first and last half hour of operations (6.30am-7am and 10pm-10.30pm)
  • End of the current 24 hour closure of the airport at weekends, a hard-fought-for concession to residents affected by noise.

At the heart of London City Airport’s vision for the future is an increasing reliance on leisure passengers. If its projections go to plan, the number of business passengers will increase but these movements will be at the beginning and end of the day.

To make the best use of the rest of the day, it wants to attract more ‘premium’ passengers travelling to, mostly, European holiday destinations. By 2035 it expects 64 per cent to be leisure passengers and 36 per cent business although this projection ignores any societal moves against flights in the face of a declared climate emergency.

Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer for London City Airport, said: “These proposals reflect the airport’s changing role, with an increasing proportion of leisure passengers choosing the airport, and East London’s continued transformation.

“Most importantly, sustainability is central to our thinking.  We have carefully developed these plans to strongly incentivise our airlines to re-fleet to cleaner, quieter new generation aircraft, minimise further construction activity, reduce emissions, limit aircraft noise, preserve air quality, and create meaningful opportunities for our local community.”


Anti-airport activists are already gearing up to challenge the plan with the loss of the 24-hour respite likely to see the greatest level of protest.

John Stewart, chair of Hacan East which campaigns on behalf of residents, said, “For all its green talk, this plan would be disastrous for residents. Flight numbers could double from today’s levels. And, to rub in the pain, the airport is looking to ease the restrictions at weekends and in the early morning and late evening.”

The airport, neighbouring University of East London, says it will consider responses before publishing a final Master Plan, due next year. However, any major measures contained in the plan still face scrutiny through the normal planning channels, including the London Borough of Newham and the Mayor and, in the case of disputes, a planning inquiry that would go to the Secretary State for Transport.


The consultation events are:

  • Canning Town Library, Rathbone Market, 18 Barking Road, Canning Town, London E16 1EH, 10 July, from 4.30pm-7.30pm
  • The City Centre, 80 Basinghall St, London EC2V 5AR, 11th September, from 12noon-7pm
  • Southern Grove Community Centre, Southern Grove, Mile End, London, E3 4FX, 12 September, from 3.30pm-7.30pm
  •  Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, Albert Rd, Royal Docks, London E16 2JB, 14  September, 10am-4pm.

The plan is available here.
Find out how to get involved and comment here.