Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 13:59 UK

Council backs extra City flights

A plane lands at London City Airport
The airport can now operate 120,000 flights per year

The number of flights at London's City Airport will increase by 50% after a council approved expansion plans.

The east London airport currently handles 80,000 flights per year, but that will now rise to 120,000.

Newham Council said it supported the airport operator's plan because it would create 1,000 jobs and bring "a significant boost" to the economy.

But opponents said further flights would create "excessive" noise levels and more pollution.

'Extra jobs'

London City Airport can now increase the number of day flights it operates. It does not plan to build any further runways, however.

An airport spokesman said the expansion would create 1,000 jobs and enable the airport to better serve visitors in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

He added: "This decision recognises the airport's importance in the community, its contribution to the local economy and the increased number of jobs that will become available to local residents as a result of its growth."

Newham council's spokesman said: "The borough looks to benefit from extra jobs and an additional annual income of 26m, which is a significant boost to the local economy."

Once the Olympics has gone 41,000 extra flights are going to affect the housing and the people who are moving into these sites
Resident Neil Pearce

He said the council would work with the airport "to ensure local residents will directly benefit from today's decision".

The council rejected an increase in additional early morning flights following consultation over the plan's environmental impact, he added.

London Mayor Boris Johnson supported the expansion, calling it "an important economic development for the borough" which "does not do significant environmental damage".

But critics, including campaign group Fight the Flights, said it would have a huge long-term impact on residents' lives.

Resident Neil Pearce, who is also a local Conservative chairman, said: "Once the Olympics has gone 41,000 extra flights are going to affect the housing and the people who are moving into these sites."

He added: "The impact is going to be incredible."


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