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Could closing London City Airport bring greater economic benefits to the local community?

11th April, 2014

A new report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) makes the case for closing London’s City Airport and redeveloping the site by saying that doing so could create jobs, boost local business and help build new homes.

London City in fact generates only £110 million per year, NEF concluded – less than a fifth of the nearby ExCeL Exhibition and Conference Centre. A study carried out by York Aviation for City Airport previously claimed a £750 million benefit, but this was based on the assumption – rejected by NEF – that passengers currently coming into the airport would not come to Britain if they could not fly to London City.

Significant ‘opportunity costs’, meanwhile, arise from the airport’s use of the site, as homes, jobs and businesses could be provided on land currently occupied by the airport. Restrictions on development near the airport due to the existence of a ‘Public Safety Zone’ (the area within which crashes are most likely to occur), together with height restrictions on buildings under take-off and landing routes prevent the most effective use of the land, the report argues.

While the average salary of London City Airport passengers is over £90,000, it is local residents who bear the environmental costs of the airport’s operation. Newham is the sixth poorest borough in the UK, with 40% of Newham residents earning less than £20,000 and unemployment at nearly 10% according to NEF’s report.

Find out more on the NEF website.

Link to the report: NEF 2014 Royal Docks Revival Replacing London City Airport