The Future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom - the role of London City Airport
On this Page:
About the City Airport Development Project and much more!
Transforming East London Together
Transforming East London Together
An event to mark the publication of this Report was held at the The Shard in St. Mary Axe in the City of London on Wednesday 20th November 2013. The meeting was addressed by the Airport's Chief Executive, Declan Collier, and by a number of others
Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation
It is the stated aim of the Coalition Government to develop a new policy framework for UK aviation which supports economic growth and addresses aviation’s environmental impacts. The process started with the Department for Transport issuing a "scoping document" in March 2011 with a view to publishing a draft policy framework for formal consultation in March 2012. In this connection please note the attached text of a speech made by Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport, to the Airport Operators Association on 25 October 2010. On Page 5 he speaks about the need for a new policy noting that in the New Year DfT will issue a scoping document setting out the questions the Government is seeking to answer as it develop this policy. There would then be a dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders to seek their views and to draw on their knowledge and experience. The Government's intention is to publish a draft policy document for formal consultation sometime in 2012.
It was on 30th March 2011 that the Department published the promised Scoping Document Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation. This scoping document begins the dialogue with stakeholders towards developing a long-term high level sustainable framework for UK aviation. The new policy framework will replace the previous government’s The Future of Air Transport White Paper which was published in 2003 and subsequently updated in 2006.
The Government's objective is to develop a long-term, high-level framework for aviation which:
The DfT was seeking views from all those who benefit from or are affected by aviation to contribute towards and influence the future direction of aviation policy. There was a 6 months consultation period which was extended and closed finally on 20 October 2011.
By April 2012 a note from the Department said that the Department's Business Plan had noted that the draft Aviation Policy Framework would be published in March 2012. Since publishing the Business Plan the Department's officers had been working on a separate call for evidence on the options for maintaining the UK’s status as an international hub for aviation. This document, alongside the Department's overarching aviation framework, would help to define the future of UK aviation "for decades to come and it was crucial that the Department should get it right" . The Department remained committed to having a final policy in place by next spring at the latest, but the Department's officers had taken the decision to wait until both documents were ready and they intended to publish them in the summer of 2012. The role of Airport Consultative Committees would be looked at in the Aviation Policy Framework and the Government intended to issue a public consultation on a draft new version of the guidance once this final policy was in place.
In July 2012 the Government published a draft of the Aviation Policy Framework for consultation. In the Department's words the consultation "sets out the Government’s high level policy and seeks responses to questions on the benefits of aviation, aviation’s climate change impacts, noise and other local environmental impacts, how the diverse interests in the aviation debate can work together and the how aviation and the planning regime interact". The consultation period runs until 31 October 2012.
In the event the Aviation Policy Framework was published on 22 March 2013.
In September 2012 the Government set up a commission, chaired by ex-Financial Services Authority boss Sir Howard Davies, to examine ways to expand airport capacity will report in 2015.
The Commission will publish an interim report by the end of 2013, with ideas on how to improve the use of existing runway capacity over the next five years and an assessment of what is needed to maintain the UK's global hub status. That will be followed, in the summer of 2015, by the commission's final report, which will include a recommendation on the best option for increasing airport capacity.
Options include a third runway at Heathrow and a new four-runway facility in the Thames estuary. The commission will also look at possible expansion at two other major London airports - Gatwick and Stansted.
The new Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said the Davies commission would identify and recommend to government "options for maintaining this country's status as an international hub for aviation". In a written statement he said: "This is a very difficult debate, but the reality is that since the 1960s Britain has failed to keep pace with our international competitors in addressing long-term aviation capacity and connectivity needs." He went on: "The government believes that maintaining the UK's status as a leading global aviation hub is fundamental to our long-term international competitiveness.
"But the government is also mindful of the need to take full account of the social, environmental and other impacts of any expansion in airport capacity."
London Airspace Management Project (LAMP)
NATS, the provider of air traffic control services in the UK, is currently defining an extensive ten-year programme to modernise UK airspace. The London Airspace Management Programme (LAMP) will affect, to some extent, almost the whole of southern England, where the airspace is among the most complex in the world.
The UK’s airspace system has been almost unchanged for 50 years despite improved aircraft performance and ATC technology. The LAMP is the first, and biggest, delivery vehicle for the CAA’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) which is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew the airspace system to deliver enhanced safety, efficiency and environmental performance. Air traffic may have dipped since the economic downturn, but it will grow again and doing nothing is not an option.
NATS aim to build-in features such as continuous climb to cruise level, and continuous descent from cruise, enabling aircraft to climb as quickly as possible and descend as late as possible to decrease noise impact on the ground and reduce fuel burn (and emissions).
NATS organised a half-day workshop in London on 15th September 2012. This was intended primarily for planning experts from local authorities in the LTMA region in order that NATS could hear from them any local factors they would like NATS to consider in embarking on its design work for the LAMP.
NATS are looking to raise holds (stacks) higher than they are today, to help reduce noise and visual intrusion. By reducing these interactions at lower levels, they aim to improve efficiency and achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions. NATS are are well aware that when they embark on redesign work, there will be many noise sensitive areas they need to consider – for example National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), populated areas, development areas, rural areas and any noise-sensitive industry.
Frank Evans (late of the Department of Transport and now secretary of the consultative committee at Stanstead Airport) said of the presentatation:-
The 2002/03Government Consultation
NOT surprisingly the Government’s 2002/03 national Consultation on the Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom gave rise to considerable discussion, contemplation and controversy. The debate was particularly hot in the South-East of England where the Government’s South East Regional Air Study (SERAS) showed that if the demand for air travel continues to grow without restraint there will be a need for three new full size runways within the 30 years period of the Government’s proposed new National Aviation Policy.
The LCY Response
AT London City SERAS assumed growth within the present planning approvals, i.e.up to 73,000 air transport movements (ATMs) per annum with the additional aircraft stands and the runway holding facility agreed as part of the Airport’s Operational Improvements Programme. The Government predicts that this will allow growth up to 5 million passengers per annum (mppa).
However, the draft London Plan predicts considerable economic and population growth on the eastern side of London (including the Thames Gateway region), and proposals to route Crossrail Line 1 through the Royal Docks, suggest a higher demand for business air travel within the Airport’s catchment area than was previously assumed. In responding to the Consultation the Airport looked at the opportunities for further growth at London City in a manner which would be environmentally sustainable. The conclusions, and some of the background discussions, can be seen in the following documents:
The Consultative Committee was broadly in agreement with the Airport on the key issues raised in SERAS. It expressed its readiness in principle to contemplate and discuss growth at the Airport in excess of that already permitted. This was on the understanding that there would be no increase in the present length of the runway or any significant variation of the current rules as to the permitted types of aircraft.
The Government's White Paper
The Government's response was issued as a White Paper - "The Future of Aviation" - on 16th December. To learn about the White Paper (and associated documents), and their impact on London City Airport, follow these links:
The White Paper says that the Government supports, in principle, the development of smaller airports in the South-East to meet local demand subject to relevant environmental considerations. So far as London City is concerned the White paper has this to say:
"11.96 London City provides services within the UK as well as to a wide range of key European destinations such as Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich. Our forecasts show that the airport is likely to grow steadily and that this growth would not be significantly affected by the addition of runway capacity at the major London airports. It is particularly well placed to serve a niche business market. Several of the surrounding local authorities supported growth to 5mppa. The airport operator believes that with some further development a higher throughput could be achieved."
On 14th December 2006 the Department for Transport published a Report which reviewed the progress made on the in implementing the White Paper. In relation to London City Airport the Report says the Airport was likely to demonstrate steady growth, serving a niche business market to domestic and European destinations. The Airport had published its master plan which showed the Airport handling 8mppa by 2030. The Report concludes that “the airport continues to be an important factor in local regeneration, business development, transport and tourism infrastructure”.
Airport Master Plan
Janet Goulton, the Airport’s Long Term Strategy Manager, had been working on the the Airport Master Plan recommended by the White Paper.
To assist airports in producing these plans the Government in July 2004 issued Guidance which outlines the Government's view on what it would like to see in master plans and offers good practice advice on their preparation.
The Government asked airports to produce outline master plan statements by the end of 2004 to be followed by fully worked-up master plans by December 2005. In line with this the Airport in December 2004 submitted to the Government a Statement of Intent which included:
A copy of this Statement suitable for web use (i.e. without the large plans) is attached (.pdf 172kb).
At its January 2005 meeting the Consultative Committee was told there would be discussions with the Government to ensure that growth to 8mppa was acceptable. Whatever the outcome of these discussions the next step would be to commission consultants fully to assess the impact of growth at the Airport to the agreed level. Once this work had been completed a full draft of the Master Plan would be drawn for consultation with the Committee, the local authorities and other interested bodies.
The Airport had hoped that consultations on the Master Plan could be launched in the summer of 2005 but the timetable slipped a little and it was not until 17th February 2006 that the Committee was briefed on the content of the Plan at a special joint meeting with the Airport Transport Forum. [Copies of the slides used in this briefing]. The Plan was published for consultation in March 2006 with a consultation period of 2 months. More than 1000 hard copies were distributed with a further 200 e-mails drawing attention to the draft of the Plan which was posted on the Airport's website.
The period for comments on the Plan expired on 31st May 2006. In October 2006 Janet Goulton told the consultative committee there had been 23 responses from a wide variety of sources including the Greater London Assembly, the local boroughs, the local resident and business communities and environmental groups. Thirteen of the responses had fully supported the Plan and there was support but with caveats from a further three. Five of the respondents had expressed no opinion and 2 had opposed some elements of the proposals. Most of the comments concerned the environmental impacts of the proposals, surface access issues and car parking. None of the respondents had expressed doubts about the Airport's passenger forecasts.
The final version of the plan was published at the end of November 2006 and a copy can be seen on the Airport's website - click here. In some instances the points made by respondents have been incorporated directly into the text of the Plan and these are highlighted in blue. Other comments and further questions are included at the end of the relevant Chapter along with the Airport's reaction to them. The Plan remains the same in essence. It has been submited to the Department for Transport who are reported to be very pleased with it.
Implementing the Master Plan
Limit on Weekday Movements
By the middle of 2006 the Airport was approaching the daily limit of 240 air transport movements. In October 2006 the Airport told the Consultative Committee that pending the finalising of the Airport Master Plan the Airport had applied for temporary planning permission to redistribute the current daily limits such that it would be permitted more daily movements on Mondays to Fridays in exchange for fewer movements on Saturdays and Sundays and during quieter holiday times. The total annual movement of 73,000 movements would not be affected by this change.
Details of the changes, approved unanimously by Newham Council's Development Control Committee on 24th January 2007, can be seen on our Operations Page
East Apron Extension
In May 2007 the Airport announced it had placed a contract worth £19m with support services and construction company Carillion for the eastwards extension of the apron to provide additional aircraft parking stands. The contract was for the construction of a 20,000 square metre concrete platform, supported by piles and built over the King George V Dock to the east of the existing terminal. There was also a sound screen to minimise the noise impact of aircraft operations on neighbouring houses. Construction started in June 2007 and the new stands came into service early in the the summer of 2008.
Refurbishment of Departure Lounge
A phased programme to enlarge and refurbish the Airport's Departure Lounge wss completed in March 2009 - for more details see our Passengers page
Planning Application - increasing the number of flights
Early in August 2007 the Airport applied to the London Brough of Newham to vary the limits in the airport planning permission so as to increase the number of permitted flights. If approved the new overall annual limit, which wouldl apply to all movements including those to and from the Jet Centre, would be 120,000 per annum compared with about 81,000 such flights in 2006. This would allow for about three years growth by which time traffic at the Airport would be operating broadly in line with the capacity of facilities already built or approved This "interim" application does not seek permission to construct any new facilities.
Attached is a note about the application by the Airport's MD, Richard Gooding. A copy of the application itself, along with all the supporting documents, is available on the our Archive Page and there is more information on our Operations Page. The key details of the application are:
Application Number: 07/01510/VAR
The documents associated with the application can be seen on the Counci's website at http://pa.newham.gov.uk/online-applications/. To see the papers enter the planning application number 07/01510/VAR
The Council say they sent consultation letters to all households in Newham south of Newham Way (A13). The closing date for representations was extended until 1st November 2007.
On 9th November the Airport issued a Question and Answer leaflet which seeks to answer many of the questions which have arisen about the Airport's application. The leaflet was delivered to all homes which normally receive the Airport's periodic publication Runway News and a copy has been placed on the Airport's website.
On 20 November 2007 the Council wrote to the Airport's planning consultants seeking additional information for the Environmental Statement which accompanied the application and also clarification on a number of other matters. A copy of the Council's letter is attached. The letter said that once the further information had been provided they would advertise its availability, and also write to statutory consultees, and there would then be a further period for comment. At the meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday 8th January 2008 it was reported that the Airport had responded to this request for for more information which you can be seen on our Archive Page). Attached is a copy of a letter sent out that day by the Council from which it will be seen that the extended period for representations about the application was extended until 6th February 2008.
At the meeting of the Consultative Committee held on Tuesday 1st April 2008 it was reported that the Council had written to ask the Airport for further information on issues which had arisen in relation to the application and that when this had been submitted there would be a further period for the submission of representations. [Minutes Items 5 and 10 refer].
On 18th April the Committee heard from the Council [copy of letter] confirming that they had now received from the Airport the additional information they required. There was thus a third period of consultation ending on 7th May (i.e. 21 days after the date of the letter). The additional information submitted by the Airport has been posted to the Council's website and also to that of the Committee where it can be seen on the Archive Page – the files headed Environmental Impact Statement - Second Addendum (April 2008) refer.
The application was due to be considered at a meeting of the Development Control Committee of the London Borough of Newham on Wednesday 30th July 2008 at the Old Town Hall in Stratford starting at 2pm. A copy of the report of the Council's officers is attached (.pdf 271kb)
The Committee met as planned but only to report the receipt that very morning of a letter from the Mayor of London. The Borough Planning Officer accordingly recommended to the Committee that it should postpone its consideration of the Airport 's planning application .
It will be noted that the Mayor of London requested that consideration of the application should be deferred pending further consideration and discussion of the impact of the expanded Public Safety Zones on the case for the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge and the potential impact on a number of sites earmarked for regeneration.
Having resolved the issues raised by the Mayor, the application was duly considered at a meeting of the Council's Development Control Committee on Wednesday 8th October 2008 - click here to see an extract from the minutes of this meeting and the two reports [Addendum Report and Pages from original report] on the application prepared by officers. The Committee voted 5-1 in favour of the recommendations of their officers to approve the application in principle. The Council’s officers were authorised to discuss with the Airport the s.106 agreement and once that is agreed and signed the Borough Planning Officer was authorised to grant planning permission. A full note of the Heads of Terms for the proposed new s.106 Agreement can be seen at Appendix 1 of the Addendum report prepared by the Council’s officers.
Subsequent to the Council’s decision the Government indicated that it would not be “calling-in” the application for determination by the Secretary of State.
However the determination of the application was subject to further delay. Following the Committee’s October decision late representations were received from Friends of the Earth saying that a race equalities impact assessment should be carried out before planning permission is granted. In spite of the earlier resolution to delegate authority to the Borough Planning Officer to grant planning permission, the Council’s officers took the view that this issue should be referred back to Committee by way of an update, and for Committee to consider whether to revisit its recommendation to grant planning permission in light of the FoE representations. The Development Control Committee thus met to consider the application again at its meeting on 14th January 2009. The report submitted by officers is appended along with Appendix 2, Appendix 3, Appendix 4 and Appendix 5.
The Council officers recommended that the Committee should confirm its previous resolution for the reasons explained in section 2 of their Report. It was not considered necessary for a race equality impact assessment to be carried out. Officers were satisfied that the decision of the Committee as reflected in its previous resolution was compatible with the Council’s duties under s.71 of the Race Relations Act (as amended). However, the matter was not determined because of further late representations in relation to the Race Equalities issue and further representations from the Friends of the Earth in relation to Climate Change. The minutes of the Committee's meeting are appended - item 6 refers.
Late in June 2009 the Committee was alerted by the Council that the application was to be considered again at the meeting of the Council's Development Control Committee on 8th July 2009. Click here to see a copy pf the report submitted to the meeting by the Council's officers. The meeting the Committee resolved to adopt the recommendations of it's officers - see the first page of their report after the maps, i.e. to approve the Airport’s application subject to conditions and to a s.106 agreement - for full details see the Minutes of the meeting on the Council's website. The Council's Decision Notice(1.87mb) was issued the following day, 9th July, and the s.106 agreement (24.2mb) was signed that day also. There is a short summary of the s.106 Agreement on pages 2 and 3 of the November 2009 edition of the Airport's community news sheet Runway News
At the meeting of the Consultative Committee held on 6th October 2009 it was reported that interests opposed to the Council’s decision were mounting a challenge to the Council’s decision by asking for a judicial review on the grounds that the Council had not properly consulted on the application and that the cimate change aspects of the application had not be properly considered. Notwithstanding this the Airport planned to press ahead with the implementation of the new s.106 agreement. The case was finally heard in the High Court on 18/19 November 2010 and the judgement (.pdf 1.14mb) upholding the Council's decision to grant planning permission was issued on 20th January 2011. There was then an appeal but by mid-2011 the opposition interests seem to have decided not to take the matter any further.
One of the requirements of the s. 106 Agreement entered into on 9th July 2009 is that on 1 July each year the Airport should send to the local planning authority an Annual Performance Report describing its performance and compliance with the planning agreement in the preceding calendar year. The Report is to be published on this website. The Report for 2010 and its Appendices (in two files click here and here) was posted to this website on 1st August 2011. The Report for 2009 and its Appendices can also be seen on this website.
Many of the documents submitted in connection with this application can be seen on our Archive page. Others will be added as they become available.
NO Second Runway
During March 2009 a story was doing the rounds locally suggesting that it is planned to have a second runway at the Airport.
Apparently the story emerged from the election propaganda of one of the candidates in the local by-election then in progress to fill a vacancy in Newham Council's Royal Docks Ward. The assertion apparently flowed from a statement by Teresa Villiers, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, which was reported in the Times on 29 January. This said:
"The Conservatives said yesterday that they were willing to expand airport capacity in the South East despite the party’s environmental opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
The Airport say there are NO plans for a second runway. The Airport Master Plan of 2006 still stands. The Airport are not even using the existing runway to its maximum capacity so they certainly would NOT need a second runway. There have been NO negotiations on this matter and the Conservative Party has NOT been in touch with the Airport regarding this statement or any kind of expansion at the Airport.
Airport Stand Replacement Project
In November 2011 the Airport launched a consultation about a new project known as the Airport Stand Replacement Project (ASRP). The consultation looked at options to change the way the airport’s parking stands for planes are arranged. The Airport said it was doing this so that it would have the correct sized space to accommodate the newer planes which some of the airlines using the airport have ordered. The Airport emphasised that the project would not increase the number of flights or require a new runway. A number of exhibitions were held at the end of November to show local people the options.
Full details of the options are to be found in the special edition of Runways News distributed to 33,000 homes locally on 13 December 2011. In the light of the feedback received the Airport will draw up a planning application for submission to the London Borough of Newham, probably in March 2012.
City Airport Development Programme
At a special event held in City Aviation House on 6th December 2012 the Airport unveiled details of its Development Programme (CADP). This proposed Project involves:
There were similar consultation events during December 2012 at:
The Airport has been consulting again about this Project at a special VIP event at City Aviation House, London City Airport on Thursday 11th April 2013 from 08.30am to 10.30am. And there were extra consultation events on:
The planning application for the Project was received by the London Borough of Newham on 26th July 2013 and comments were to have been submitted by 14th October 2013. This was later extended to midday on 18th December 2013.
The Future of Helicopter Operations in London
At the July 2006 meeting of the consultative committee the Airport said it had given evidence to the investigation into helicopter noise by the Environment Committee of the Greater London Assembly . In doing so the Airport noted the Mayor of London's Heliport Policy as set out in the London Plan (Chapter 3, page 111, para 3.178) as follows:
The London Plan notes that if further provision is felt to be necessary to support London 's economy, then this new provision should be located to the east of the City to serve it, the Isle of Dogs and the wider Thames Gateway area.
Against this background the Airport had offered to produce a discussion document to stimulate debate and this was published in September 2006 [Helicopter Discussion Document]. The Airport emphasised it had no aspirations to provide heliport facilities at LCY – rotary wing operations would not mix very easily with the fixed regime at the airport and in any case helicopters were prohibited by the Airport's planning permission. However, the present free-for-all would not be viable as rotary wing traffic built up on the approach to the Olympics. There was no control over helicopter landing sites which could be used for up to 28 days without planning permission. It might be better to have a well-sited, purpose built facility with a noise management system and other environmental controls similar to those in place at LCY. Whether or not a new heliport facility was needed locally it was essential that there should be better regulation of the traffic. To see the full Report click here.
The deadline for comments on the report was 31st October 2006. At its January 2007 meeting the Airport told the Consultative Committee that the Report had attracted 30 responses from local residents and businesses as well as local councillors. There was general agreement that the use of helicopters in the local area gave rise to difficult issues. Meanwhile the Airport noted the publication of the London Assembly's comprehensive Review of Helicopter Noise in London and agreed with the Recommendations of that report for further study.
Emma Worby or Anthony Angol
Tel 20 203 2523 or 20 7646 0200
An independent Consultative Committee established by London City Airport pursuant to Section 35 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982
Page last modified: 22 November 2013