London City Airport today announced it has launched a 10-week public consultation on how it can meet passenger demand ahead of a very busy chapter. As part of its plans, the airline is seeking greater flexibility for Saturday afternoon and evening operations, as well as greater freedom for early morning and late evening services.
More flight hours
City Airport is expecting three million passengers this year and is expected to reach the pre-COVID figure of five million as early as 2024. Unlike other airports in the London area, it is centered near the center of Greater London, off the Thames. It is just six miles east of the City of London, located in the Royal Docks in Newham. This setting led to strict rules being imposed to limit aircraft noise.
Even before the pandemic, the airport was looking to increase the number of flights to meet demand. It aims to grow to nine million passengers a year without additional infrastructure works. However, there is a leniency requirement on flying hours.
The city airport is requesting permission to allow flights on Saturday afternoons and evenings. He is also looking for flexibility between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Yet he understands that expansion should consider environmental and social factors.
Therefore, the airport expresses its objective to achieve 80% of its flights to and from the site by sustainable modes of transport with no additional parking offered. Additionally, the airport shared its commitment to using efficient next-generation aircraft.
City Airport General Manager Robert Sinclair shared the following in a statement:
“London City Airport plays a hugely important role in quickly and easily connecting London to the rest of the UK and the world for business and leisure travel. The strength of our rebound demonstrates the huge pent-up demand for air travel and the need to plan for the future responsibly.
He added that following the airport’s commitment to London’s first net zero airport by 2030, these proposals set out how the site and its carriers can sustainably meet future demand. In particular, this would stimulate investment in cleaner and quieter modern jets.
The airport is right in the middle of the action. Photo: London City Airport
British Airways, which has a large presence at the airport, also commented. The company would no doubt keep an eye on progress in this area.
British Airways CityFlyer CEO Tom Stoddart added:
“We welcome these proposals, which will provide more choice and flexibility for our customers, increase local jobs and help drive London’s economic recovery. At British Airways we remain focused on a sustainable future and these proposals put sustainability at the forefront of change in London City.
The Airbus A220 and the Embraer E2 were presented by City Airport in today’s press release. British Airways primarily deploys Embraer E190 aircraft at the airport. This type first arrived in the airline’s fleet in 2019, but deliveries continued until last year. The average age of these planes is 11 years and they are not as efficient as the aforementioned models.
So, if City Airport is granted, the E2 would be the natural successor to BA. The aircraft is a re-engined model of the E190. Pratt & Whitney PurePower Geared Turbofan engines replaced General Electric units, providing a 17.3% improvement in fuel consumption. Embraer claims that the E2 would become the most environmentally friendly aircraft in its segment, offering the lowest level of noise and external emissions.
The equally efficient A220 has become a fan favorite since its introduction with SWISS in 2017. This airline already operates the A220 at City Airport, serving Zurich and Geneva from the UK capital.
There could be opportunities for BA. Photo: British Airways
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly summaries of aviation news.
There is therefore room for development with regard to the sustainable expansion of City Airport. However, there will undoubtedly be concerns and opposition. It is crucial that all socio-environmental factors are discussed and worked out during this 10 week consultation.
What do you think of London City Airport launching a 10-week consultation on changes to its current planning permission? What do you think of the overall situation? Let us know what you think in the comments section.